Facebook To Create Second-Biggest Wind Farm In Nebraska

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Nov. 19 2020, Updated 9:40 p.m. ET

Large companies like Google and Apple are running their data centers with renewable energy. The latter is going to be building a fully sustainable data center in Waukee, Iowa, that’s scheduled to be completed in 2020. Facebook is also planning to create a data center in the Midwest, and it’ll feature a new wind farm that will power it entirely.

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The social media giant is joining forces with Tradewind Energy to create the Rattlesnake Creek wind project in Dixon County, Nebraska. It’ll be stretched out among 32,000 acres of land between Allen, Emerson, and Wakefield. The new wind farm will feature a capacity of 320 megawatts, and 200 of it will be dedicated to a new data center being built in Papillion, which is near Omaha. Distance between the two areas is approximately 120 miles.

Facebook made the decision to power its new data center with 100 percent renewable energy after the Omaha Public Power District established a new rate structure. The goal was to attract more tech giants to build data centers that were powered by sustainable sources. Back in April, Facebook was considering building a wind farm that featured 450 megawatts.

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Even though the wind farm will have smaller capacity, the remaining amount will still power up to 90,000 homes in the area. It’s also expected to be the second-biggest wind farm in Nebraska, behind the Grande Prairie wind farm in Holt County, Nebraska. That 400-megawatt project went online last October. There’s currently no timetable for when the Rattlesnake Creek project will go online.

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According to Tradewind Energy, the project has been approved by the landowners and local government where the wind farm will be located. It’ll be using local materials and offers temporary construction jobs to boost the economy. When it’s up and running, the wind farm will offset over 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Back in 2013, the company failed to find a buyer for an older project that was valued at $300 million.

“Tradewind is proud to partner with Facebook, and help lead our industry in the shift that is occurring toward sustainability in the power sector.” the company said in a blog post. “This is an exciting time for wind and solar power industries with companies like Facebook enabling the construction of more and more projects across the U.S.”

Data centers are commonly equipped with renewable power as they demand a lot of energy with how often people surf the internet, stream videos, and more. Even one of the world’s largest data centers in Norway will be fully renewable. It’s been specifically located in an area that it will keep it cool while a hydropower plant fuels it. Facebook has a couple of data centers in other parts of the Scandinavian countries.

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