This is a step in the right direction.
Facebook has selected Rutherford County, North Carolina for its second data center, largely sidestepping the furor that erupted early this year when it selected Prineville, Ore., which relies primarily on coal for power, for its first data center. As The New York Times’ Bit Blog notes, Forest City, North Carolina, where the data center will be located, uses a mix of nuclear power, natural gas, and yes, coal — but less of it. Here’s the breakdown:
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about half of the electricity in Forest City, North Carolina, is coal-generated, in line with the national average. Another 39 percent, or roughly double the national average, comes from nuclear power. Five percent is from natural gas, which makes up nearly 19 percent of the national average.
For Facebook, it helps to swing the spotlight back on it efforts to improve IT efficiency and lower its carbon emissions. The Prineville data center is no slouch in that department, but the green message was lost in the coal controversy. And for North Carolina, this helps to cement its reputation as the East Coast state to situate a massive data center. Facebook now joins IBM, Google and Apple in building data centers in the region. (Microsoft passed on North Carolina for greener pastures in Virginia.)
The project will cost $450 million and take about 18 months to complete. In the meantime, you can check on its progress on Facebook’s official Rutherford Data Center Page.