Facebook committed itself Tuesday to powering its entire global operation with renewable energy sources by the end of the decade, helped by some huge energy purchases it had made over the past year.
In 2018, Facebook purchased 2.5 gigawatts of energy from renewable sources, which accounted for a huge chunk of the 3 gigawatts in renewable energy it has purchased since setting up its clean energy program in 2013. In a blog post, the company said that energy comes from new projects and the solar and wind farms are connected to the same grid as its data centers.
It takes a massive amount of power for Facebook to surface those viral lists of dogs that look like celebrities to its 2.23 billion monthly active users. Its Prineville, Ore. data center complex, which was first built in 2011, now uses over 400 megawatts of power, the company said earlier this year while announcing several new solar projects; the average home uses about 10,000 kilowatt-hours of energy each year.
The big U.S. tech companies that operate data centers at scale have all implemented clean energy programs to offset their insatiable energy consumption. Amazon Web Services said earlier this year that it had reached the 50 percent renewable-energy usage target, while Microsoft hit that mark in March thanks to what was at the time the single-largest corporate purchase of renewable energy: 315 megawatts.
Apple hit the 100 percent goal early compared to the other data center operators, achieving that goal in 2014, although its operation is smaller than some of the other companies. Google announced earlier this year that it has purchased enough clean energy to offset 100 percent of its energy usage, but not all of those projects are actually connected to its data centers.