Victory! Facebook becomes friends with renewable energy

Posted by Eoin D — 15 December 2011 at 3:01pm - Comments

After nearly two years of mobilising, agitating and negotiating to green Facebook, the internet giant has today announced its goal to run on clean, renewable energy. More than 700,000 people from all over the world joined to make this possible! Facebook's message to energy producers is clear: invest now in renewable energy, and move away from coal power.

In addition, Greenpeace and Facebook will collaborate in the promotion renewable energy and encourage major utilities to develop renewable energy sources (pdf).

Facebook has also committed to develop programmes with Greenpeace so that its users can save energy and engage their communities in clean energy decisions. The possibilities for helping to empower and mobilise people around the world to launch an energy revolution are staggering.

From today, Facebook has a siting policy that states a preference for access to clean, renewable energy supply for its future data centres – the places where its computers live. Coal power is still a feature of Facebook for now but, as they say in the IT sector, it's been deprecated.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped us get here. Now please announce it to the world! Boast about how you helped our Facebook campaign to success - on Facebook -- you deserve it! The good people at Facebook also deserve our thanks for rising to the challenge and setting the bar for internet companies with its data centre siting policy.

The campaign to green Facebook took off in February 2010, just after the company announced its plan to build a data centre that would run on electricity made primarily by burning coal.

Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world got involved. Celebrities and students joined Greenpeace volunteers and activists from Argentina to Zimbabwe, and in every city where Facebook has offices - including London. We demonstrated with photos, humour, petitions, videos, music, and dance - and an airship flying over Facebook's HQ in Palo Alto, California. Campaign supporters even set a Guinness world record for the most Facebook comments in 24 hours.

The energy used to power data centres, such as those which run the websites and online services of Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and other major IT companies is enormous, totalling more than 2 per cent of US electricity demand, and is projected to grow 12 per cent or more each year.

Videos, pictures and other data are stored in this high tech cloud to deliver data to homes and offices in real time. If the cloud was a country, it would be the fifth largest in terms of electricity use.

This cloud is often powered from locations that are heavily dependent on electricity from a variety of sources, including coal, which is the dirtiest source of energy and largest single source of global warming pollution in the world.

If all the internet giants unfriended coal, it would send a message to utilities and investors that couldn't be ignored. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has shown today what other IT leaders should be doing.

Energy efficiency is important, but for an energy revolution to save the planet we also need to upgrade to green energy. Who will be next?

Click to tweet and encourage other IT leaders to beat Facebook's commitment:

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