Facebook To Open $500M Wind-Powered Data Center in Texas

Social networking giant Facebook is developing a 200-megawatt wind-energy project to power its new data center in Fort Worth, Texas. Unveiled on Tuesday, plans for the wind-powered data center are part of the company's long-term goal to eventually meet all of its data center energy needs with renewables.

Facebook already powers two of its existing four global data centers with renewable energy, and plans to achieve a 25-percent renewables goal by the end of this year, according to Vice President of Engineering Jay Parikh. By 2018, the company aims to meet half of its data center energy needs with clean power, he said.

Construction of the new data center has already started, and the facility is expected to come online in late 2016, a Facebook spokesperson told us. While the company isn't disclosing full cost and capacity plans for the data center, the spokesperson said that "we have publicly committed to at least 40 full-time jobs and $500 million in investment."

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The company has worked with Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corp. and Starwood Energy Group to develop a wind farm that will power the facility, West Region Director of Data Center Operations Ken Patchett said in a Facebook blog post. Currently under construction, the wind farm is located on a 17,000-acre site 90 miles from the data center's location.

"We put a lot of effort into choosing where to locate a facility like this," Patchett noted. "There are a lot of things we look for -- everything from a shovel-ready site, to access to renewable energy, to great partnerships with the local community, to a strong pool of local talent for construction and long-term operations staff. We think we've found all that and more in Fort Worth, and we're excited to be getting started."

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