Facebook to build a $1 billion wind-powered data center in Fort Worth

By midian182
Jul 8, 2015
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  1. Facebook has announced that it is building a new data center in Fort Worth, Texas. The $1 billion facility will be completely powered with 100 percent clean energy, with the company commiting to powering all its operations with 50 percent renewable energy in the next three years.

    The new data center will use wind power from a large wind farm that is also under construction. The farm is being built on 17,000 acres of land in Clay County, which is located about 90 miles from the data center site. Facebook worked with Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corporation, and Starwood Energy Group on the wind project, which should be delivering electricity by next year

    Regarding the company's renewable energy policy, Tom Furlong, vice president of infrastructure at Facebook, said: “Thanks to our continued focus on efficiency and our investments in renewables in recent years, the carbon impact of one person’s use of Facebook for an entire year is the same as the carbon impact of a medium latte."

    The Fort Worth facility will be the fifth data center the company has built, after facilities in Iowa, Oregon, North Carolina and Sweden. This isn’t Facebook’s first foray into using renewable energy; its data center in Iowa is also powered with energy from a nearby wind farm.

    Facebook's Texas facility will be used to handle the growing demand from its 700 million Messenger users and 300 million Instagram users, as well as groups and companies that use Facebook platforms to build membership and businesses.

    Facebook is not the only company transitioning to cleaner energy sources for its data centers; Google plans to build a similar facility powered by renewable energy in Alabama, and Amazon announced last month that it will build an 80-megawatt solar farm on the eastern shore of Virginia to help power its data centers in the area.

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  2. 100% clean energy? Who are they kidding?

    First, the steel and other materials to build the wind turbines must be mined. That produces a lot of slag piled beside the mine. The mining machines use a lot of fossil fuel. Refining the ore takes a lot of fossil fuel. Manufacturing the turbines uses still more fossil fuel, as does transporting the turbines to the erection site and erecting them. At the end of the turbine's life, Fossil fuel is used to disassemble the turbines and transport the carcasses to a waste disposal site--though it is more likely that they'll just leave the obsolete turbines in place to eventually be removed at taxpayer expense.

    While in operation, the turbines produce a lot of noise and kill a lot of birds who fly into the paths of the blades.

    Wind energy may be useful overall, but there are a lot of costs involved that the promoters ignore in their glowing press releases. And it is by no means clear that use of wind energy is better overall for the environment than using natural gas to produce energy. No-one, however, is motivated to do the work to find out. The gas producers push gas because that's how they make money, and the wind energy manufacturers push wind energy because that's how they make money. And the politicians push whatever will yield the largest bribes to them.
  3. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,212   +174

    We only look at what happens after the thing is built. That's, 100% clean energy production. How it got there, where it's stored, and what it consumed during construction is irrelevant. (In the eyes of the press release.)

    If there is an efficient way to make a wind turbine from sweat, bamboo and previously mined minerals, nobody's saying how they did it.
    SirChocula and cliffordcooley like this.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,343   +622

    @9Nails In this respect, solar is a farce; the production of the solar cells is as dirty as it gets. Then the break even point for cost / savings is almost the expected lifetime of the panels, so the net gain for the customer is close to ZERO.
  5. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 1,906   +954

    While you might be right in many ways, this isn't something that's going to happen overnight. It's large scale implementation like this that will lower the cost enough to power our homes. If we have enough energy we can simply pull hydrogen and CO2 out of the atmosphere and make gas and diesel fuels. If we can do that, fossil fuels in our cars and trucks effectively become carbon neutral.
  6. "First, the steel and other materials to build the wind turbines must be mined. That produces a lot of slag piled beside the mine. The mining machines use a lot of fossil fuel. Refining the ore takes a lot of fossil fuel. Manufacturing the turbines uses still more fossil fuel.."

    Even the keyboard/pc/phones or other device you used to write this comment must be through processes that you mentioned above, and the energy/electricity you used to power your device also takes a lot of fossil fuel.. So, what are you trying to say?
    SirChocula likes this.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,558   +2,900

    Lets take a look at what it takes to build a surgery room that has to be completely sanitized before use. Just because it takes unclean ways to create a device to produce clean energy, doesn't mean the device doesn't produce clean energy.

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