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Facebook joins camp Greenpeace

DAILYHOSTNEWS, December 20, 2011 – After close to two years of campaigning, Greenpeace has finally won Facebook over, meaning the two will collaborate to make Facebook’s data center activities greener with an emphasis on renewable energy.

Greenpeace’s website this week said Facebook will help Greenpeace push for more investment into renewable energy while committing itself to the use of green power.

“From today, Facebook has a siting policy that states a preference for access to clean, renewable energy supply for its future data centers,” Greenpeace said on December 15.

“Coal power is still a feature of Facebook for now, but as they say in the IT sector – it’s been deprecated.”

The move follows Facebook’s announcement that it is building a data center in Lulea, Sweden, which will use free cooling and renewable energy.

Greenpeace called this a “big sign of progress” but warned the fight was not over. More than 700,000 campaigners had signed up online over the past 20 months to let Facebook know they preferred its data centers to be powered with renewable energy, and for this to be part of its permanent policy.

“The company should disclose its overall carbon footprint and use its purchasing power to demand more renewable energy from the utilities that currently supply Facebook’s electricity, for the data centers in North Carolina and Oregon (US),” a Greenpeace blog by Anna K said.

The Facebook and Greenpeace collaboration on Clean and Renewable Energy agreement released on December 15 said Facebook’s goal is to now power all of its operations with renewable and clean energy.

It said it will use its Open Compute Project, which has brought together major data center operators to share tips on energy efficiency, to do this as well as partnerships with Greenpeace and other organizations.

Greenpeace and Facebook are also planning to co-host a series of roundtables and discussions with experts on energy issues.

Facebook is not the first Internet Company to make a commitment to green energy. Google has also been known for its zero carbon operations. Where it cannot access renewables, it offsets all of its carbon emissions by investing in green companies, and helping bring emissions down at separate operations, generally dissimilar in business to Google.

The argument goes much beyond the green economy, for data center operators it is also about reducing the high cost of traditional energy sources and making sure energy will be available in coming years.

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