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Facebook to run data centre on wind power

Social media platform Facebook has agreed to buy enough wind power to fully supply the energy needed for its Papillion, Nebraska data centre.

The move follows a spate of similar announcements in recent weeks from other tech giants, such as Microsoft and Amazon, looking to move their power-hungry data centres over to renewable energy sources.

Facebook made the agreement with the Rattlesnake Creek windfarm of Dixon County, Nebraska. Once completed at a cost of $430m, it will have a capacity of 320MW. Facebook has agreed to purchase 200MW of this for its Papillion data centre.

Speaking about the announcement, Bobby Hollis, the director of global energy at Facebook, said the company was now:

“…one step closer to our goal of powering all of our operations with clean and renewable energy.”

Despite the United States’ announced withdrawal from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change mitigation, Facebook’s announcement shows a continued push towards renewables within the country’s technology sector. Indeed, the US Department of Energy claims the country has one of the biggest and most rapidly growing markets in the world for wind energy. US oil majors have also diversified into renewables, with ExxonMobil supplying advanced lubricants for wind turbines through its Mobil distributors and researching algae as a feasible source of biofuel.

In similar news, home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool has announced it will next year begin construction of three onsite wind turbines to help power its manufacturing facility in Greenville, Ohio, potentially offsetting about 70% of its electricity needs.

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