Facebook wants to run on 100% renewable power by 2020

The technology giant has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint by 75% and move over to 100% renewable power by the end of the 2020.

Around two billion people are thought to log in to Facebook every day, along with its family of popular apps & products – including WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram and Oculus.

Energy use

What many people don’t realise is that behind the scenes there is a huge hidden world of servers and data centres powering these apps. Every time you upload a photo, stream a video or ‘like’ a post, that information has to be stored somewhere – and all of those servers and all that infrastructure require a colossal amount of electricity to keep running around the clock.

In 2017 Facebook consumed just under 1,500 gigawatt hours of electricity – more than some small countries! As well as powering its servers, data centres eat up a lot of energy just to keep cool. And that’s before you factor in the cost of powering offices & other facilities.

Data centre
One of Facebook’s larger, custom designed data centres in Oregon, USA. Source.

Renewable energy targets

The company announced earlier this week that they would reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 75% and power their global operations with 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020. They plan to use a variety of methods to achieve this goal, such as renewable energy tariffs and direct power purchase agreements with generators. Most of the renewable electricity will come from wind and solar.

At present Facebook runs on 51% clean energy, achieving a goal they set for themselves back in 2015. In 2009 they switched from renting server space from other companies and began designing their own.

 

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