Facebook Unfriends Coal, Partners with Greenpeace for Clean Energy Future

“After 20 months of mobilizing, agitating and negotiating to green Facebook, the Internet giant has today announced its goal to run on clean, renewable energy. The clear message to energy producers from Facebook is: invest now in renewable energy, and move away from coal power. That’s a status update we can all celebrate!”

Facebook today announced “it is committed to supporting the development of clean and renewable sources of energy, and our goal is to power all of our operations with clean and renewable energy.” The social media company said “we are working in partnership with Greenpeace and others to create a world that is highly efficient and powered by clean and renewable energy.”

As Greenpeace explained: “The news comes two years after Greenpeace launched its global Unfriend Coal Campaign, enlisting 700,000 online activists to call on Facebook to power its data centers with clean energy instead of coal.”


In general, as I and others have been arguing for a while, it’s a myth the internet is an energy hog: Information technology is good for climate. But data centers use a fair amount of electricity so making them more efficient and powering them with clean energy is very worthwhile.

As part of the new partnership, the mammoth social media company committed to:

  • Adopting a siting policy that states a preference for access to clean and renewable energy supply
  • Ongoing research into energy efficiency and the open sharing of that technology through the Open Compute Project
  • Ongoing research into clean energy solutions for our future data centers
  • Engaging in a dialogue with our utility providers about increasing the supply of clean energy that power Facebook data centers

Here’s a quote from Marcy Scott Lynn of Facebook’s sustainability program:

“Facebook looks forward to a day when our primary energy sources are clean and renewable, and we are working with Greenpeace and others to help bring that day closer. As an important step, our datacenter siting policy now states a preference for access to clean and renewable energy. Another important step will be to work with Greenpeace to put the power of our platform to use for the environment. Greenpeace has been particularly effective using Facebook to spark environmental awareness and action, we are excited to work with them to explore new ways in which people can use Facebook to engage and connect on the range of energy issues that matter most to them — from their own energy efficiency to access to cleaner sources of energy.”

Kudos to Facebook for this move and double kudos to Greenpeace for applying the pressure.

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