Facebook pledges to source 100% renewable energy by 2020

Social media giant Facebook has committed to source 100% renewable energy for its operations by 2020, after reaching its 2018 renewables target one year early.

The company revealed in a blog post on Tuesday (28 August) that it had surpassed its 2018 target of supporting 50% of its operations with clean power last year, spurring it to set a more ambitious target for 2020.

Since it first moved to purchase renewable power in 2013, Facebook has signed contracts for solar and wind projects with a combined capacity of more than 3GW, the blog post states.

The projects are on the same grid as the company’s data centres across Europe and the US – a set-up Facebook claims has enabled it to take an “open and innovative approach” that benefits its own business as well as wider energy markets.

The blog post states that Facebook works to enable competitors and other organisations to access renewable energy resources by building wind and solar infrastructure, opening projects to other buyers and establishing green energy tariffs.

Facebook additionally pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 75% by the same deadline, but did not reveal a baseline for the aim or the steps it would take to achieve the target.

Corporate charge

The announcements come shortly after a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Bloomberg NEF) revealed that Facebook was the largest corporate buyer of clean energy in the first seven months of 2018, procuring 1.1GW of renewable power between January and July.  

Corporates collectively purchased a record 7.2GW of clean power during the seven-month period, the report revealed, surpassing the 5.4GW sourced during the same period 2017.

As this trend continues to gather pace, tech giants such as Facebook have been increasingly intent on sourcing green energy, as experts have predicted that the amount of energy consumed by data centres will treble in the next decade.

The company, which is a member of the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative, is currently building a new data centre in Ireland which will run on 100% wind power, after committing to support its data centre operations with energy generated using its own renewable installations.

Elsewhere, Microsoft is adding more clean sources to its energy mix in an attempt to reach a 60% renewables target “early in the next decade”, while Apple has invested $1.7bn in building two giant data centres in Europe – one in Ireland and the other in Denmark – to be powered by 100% renewable energy.

  Sarah George

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