Facebook unfriends coal, friends Greenpeace in clean energy campaign

Facebook says it will seek clean and renewable energy sources for its data centers, prompting Greenpeace to end its "unfriend coal" campaign

Greenpeace International has ended a long-running campaign calling on Facebook to "unfriend coal" as a source of energy for its data centers, after Facebook agreed to promote clean and renewable energy, the two said Thursday.

In late October, Facebook announced plans to build a new data center in Lulea, Sweden, using hydroelectric power for the servers and relying on the local climate to cool the data center for free. At the time, though, Facebook made no commitment to use clean and renewable energy in its other data centers.

Greenpeace rated Facebook's existing data centers as among the dirtiest on the planet in its April report on cloud-computing services, "How dirty is your data?"

Back then, the campaign group estimated Facebook's reliance on coal at 53.2 percent, second only to Apple's (at 54.5 percent) and far higher than Google's (34.7 percent) or Amazon's (28.5 percent). Greenpeace based its estimates on published figures for data-center power consumption and electricity utilities' reports of their energy sources.

Because the local utility, Pacific Power, obtains 63 percent of its energy from coal, even Facebook's newest data center in Prineville, Oregon, was rated badly -- and this despite its industry-leading PUE (power usage effectiveness) score of just 1.07, indicating that almost all the power it consumes is used for computing rather than ancillary functions such as cooling or lighting.

The company should become less reliant on coal, though, as in the future Facebook will favor data-center sites with access to clean and renewable energy, it said Thursday.

For Facebook's existing data centers, though, expect slow evolution, not a revolution, in energy supply: "We'll engage in a dialogue with our utility providers about increasing the supply of clean energy that power Facebook data centers," a company statement said.

The company has also promised to distribute the results of its research into energy efficiency through the Open Compute Project, an organization it set up to promote low-cost, low-energy computing infrastructure. Greenpeace will help promote the project's findings, it said.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Green data centerenvironmentGreenpeaceFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?