The Dernogalizer

February 19, 2010

Facebook to run on Coal!?

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 2:53 am
Tags: ,

In case you haven’t heard, Facebook recently announced the development of its first data center in Prineville, Oregon, and instead of buying electricity from a clean source within the state, they’re going to mostly rely on coal electricity. Why?

“With the price of hydropower increasing in the Northwest, Facebook opted to bet on the incremental price increases associated with coal rather than face tier-two pricing from BPA.

Brian Oley, a data center site selection expert at the real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, said it’s no secret that the Northwest’s hydropower is getting tapped out. Oley expects that when tier-two pricing kicks in, prices will increase from two cents per kWh to six or seven cents.”

As Treehugger notes, datacenters such as the one Facebook is building are big energy hogs

“Data center power use of the last decade is astounding. In 2000, data centers comprised 0.8 percent of total US electrical consumption, but just 5 years later, data centers’ power consumption grew to 1.4 percent of the total energy use in the country, according to the Energy Information Administration.”

What’s interesting here is how Facebook is clearly aware that they’re making an unpopular decision. They touted the energy efficiency measures taken to minimize the environmental impact of the data center, and posted an official defense of their decision on Treehugger by touting the energy efficiency measures again.

They don’t seem to be addressing the head on issue of what KIND of power they’re using. Efficiency is good, coal is terrible on emissions of every kind which damage human health at every stage of the lifecycle and causes climate change. An energy efficient coal-powered building does NOT make for a green building. Sorry Facebook.

But I think they know that too. I’m hearing from multiple users they’ve started censoring Facebook groups which include the words “Facebook and coal”. This was the most recent comment on TreeHugger…

“Facebook has, without warning, deleted the FB-group “Tell Facebook to use clean energy in its data center.” The group existed for merely two days, was very popular and swiftly growing. At the moment of its deletion the group had about 700 members and there were over 3000 invitations to join the group, send out by its members, which were not yet responded upon. The number of group memberships was rising exponential. Also at the moment of deletion the groups creator was in the progress to join forces with a major environmental movement to mobilize the public and to let them show their dismay by becoming member of the group. Which would have boosted membership even more.
We regret the undemocratic tactics which Facebook has applied in this matter.”

They’re clearly afraid of this one getting around because they know what they’re doing as wrong. If you have a Facebook account, please join the group “Get Facebook Off Coal” , and sign this petition.

Lets get Facebook off coal.



  1. […] from The Dernogalizer Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Discriminatory Drug Laws; Facebook’s Dirty […]

    Pingback by Facebook to run on Coal!? « It’s Getting Hot In Here — February 19, 2010 @ 2:56 am | Reply

  2. Using coal to generate electricity is like using firewood to heat your home. Cleaner and reliable alternatives are everywhere. (Hint:step outside and look up)

    Comment by John Walsh — February 19, 2010 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

  3. I just want to say that this article has incorrect information. Facebook chose PRINEVILLE Oregon, there is no place names Princeville in the state. If you are going to write a story make sure you have the correct information!

    Comment by Bryce — February 20, 2010 @ 12:17 am | Reply

    • Easy there. Spelling typo that’s been fixed. Hopefully you’ll forgive me, considering in your comment you have “no place names” instead of “named”. If you’re going to post a comment, make sure it’s coherent 😛

      Comment by Matt Dernoga — February 20, 2010 @ 12:51 am | Reply

  4. […] Facebook is enjoying such tremendous growth in its use that it’s having to build a special data center out in Oregon to handle the load. Facebook has decided to power that data center with electricity created by burning dirty old coal. […]

    Pingback by Irregular Times » Blog Archive » Facebook Runs On Coal — February 20, 2010 @ 1:23 am | Reply

  5. […] under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 5:06 pm Tags: coal, Facebook, Greenpeace I had a post last week about Facebook’s new data center being powered with coal.  Greenpeace jumped on […]

    Pingback by Greenpeace takes on Facebook over Coal Powered Data Center « The Dernogalizer — February 24, 2010 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

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