By Rob Price
Facebook is determined to make its energy-guzzling data centres more environmentally friendly.
On Tuesday, the Silicon Valley tech giant announced that it has set itself a target of powering its operations with 100% renewable energy “by the end of 2020.” It’s also publicly promising to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 75% over the same timeframe, using 2017 as a base year.
The two goals are a significant new commitment towards green energy for Facebook, building on previous targets and giving it new concrete, measurable goals to work towards.
Tech giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple, consume extraordinary quantities of electricity to power their global networks of data centres and infrastructure.
These have the capacity to significantly contribute to global greenhouse emissions — though most of the major tech firms have made pledges towards renewable energy with varying levels of specificity.
In a 2017 report assessing the environmental credentials of tech firms, Greenpeace scored Apple most highly — hailing it as “among the most aggressive in the sector in its efforts to power its online platform with renewable energy.”
Facebook also got an A-grade, with Greenpeace commending it: “Facebook was the first major internet company to commit to be 100% renewably powered and continues to play a leadership role within the sector. Showing strong transparency and a track record of its five latest data centers sighted in locations that allowed them to be renewably powered.”
Google is “improving its renewable energy deployment in new markets to keep pace with its rapid growth,” Greenpeace said, but it “still has significant room to improve in regards to transparency.”
Facebook previously set itself a goal of 25% renewables by 2015, and 50% by 2018 after that.
“We work with utilities, renewable energy developers and industry groups to share our learnings and approaches with other companies. When doing so, we bring an open and innovative approach to finding renewable energy solutions that fit our needs and can move energy markets forward,” Facebook said in a press release.
“We work to enable access to renewable energy resources for other companies and organizations through green tariffs, building infrastructure or opening projects to other buyers.”
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