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Facebook the latest company to purchase wind energy

Los Vientos Wind Farm in Texas, Creative Commons license
Facebook the latest company to purchase wind energy
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Facebook will be powering its newest data center with 100 percent wind energy – making it the latest of several companies to recognize the value of this stably-priced clean power source.

The company wrote that the data center in Fort Worth, Texas will be powered by 200 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy:

“The Fort Worth data center will also be powered by 100% renewable energy, thanks to the 200 MW of new wind energy that we worked with Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corporation, and Starwood Energy Group to bring to the Texas grid. Construction on the project is already under way on a 17,000-acre site in Clay County, just 90 miles from the data center, and we expect it to begin delivering clean energy to the grid by 2016. 200 MW is more energy than we will need for the foreseeable future, and we’re proud to have played a role in bringing this project to Texas.”

Facebook has set a goal of running 50 percent of its operations with clean energy by 2018, and hopes to run on 100 percent clean energy eventually. Facebook already powers its Iowa data center with a nearby wind farm that went online in 2014.

There is a growing trend of major U.S. companies (including Wal-Mart, Amazon, Google and Mars) and other non-utility groups buying wind: more than half of the power purchase agreements for wind signed in the first quarter of 2015 were from four companies. This map shows that at least 60 non-utility entities, including companies, universities, and government agencies, have made long-term wind energy purchases:

Why are they buying wind power? They recognize the value of locking in record-low prices to hedge against spikes in fuel prices, and contributing to a cleaner power supply.

As companies buy wind, Americans will increasingly see that this is not a futuristic ideal, but a mainstream, technologically advanced power source available for us today. After all, if it’s good enough to power Facebook’s data center, it’s good enough to power our homes and businesses.

States will also need to enact policies friendly to renewable energy if they want to attract companies that are increasingly seeking to power their  businesses with clean energy.

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Shauna Theel is the Deputy Director of Digital Media at the American Wind Energy Association. She oversees AWEA's digital media content and strategy, ensuring that the message of clean, affordable, and American wind power is heard loud and clear across media platforms. Prior to joining AWEA, she worked at the watchdog group Media Matters for America for four years. As the Climate and Energy Program Director at Media Matters, she oversaw the group's rapid response communications, long-term research analyses, and outreach efforts related to energy and environmental policy. In this role, she served as the public face of the team, giving interviews to press outlets, and giving presentations everywhere from Capitol Hill to the National Press Club. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Political Science.

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