Meta: Facebook releases Renewable Impact Study

May 27, 2021 | Posted by Eric Bell

A new study into the impacts of Facebook's renewable energy projects was recently released. The report, commissioned by Facebook, and conducted by RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, revealed the social media company's renewable energy efforts have had widespread positive economic impacts.

The report estimated that its projects will result in $7.4 billion in development capital expenditures, with $3.1 billion sourced in the US between 2014 and 2022.

The impact report also states that in all regions with operational data centers, the company has added renewable energy capacity, ranging from 100MW to over 700MW, as part of its "100% renewable energy commitment".

Additionally, the report highlights that in 2018 and 2019, the tech giant was recognized as the "number one corporate buyer of renewable energy in the US" by the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA).

Currently supporting its data center fleet with 100% renewable energy, the report outlines that Facebook is "on track" to maintain this commitment for future projects. As such, the company has two overarching goals to ensure it hits its targets. These goals are:
  • To add renewable energy capacity to the grid equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by the company's data center operations 
  • To ensure all Facebook-supported renewable energy projects are located in the same electric grids as its data centers

Elsewhere, the study pointed to how Facebook's renewable energy portfolio, which spans 18 states and 46 counties, has contributed to positive economic outcomes in economically distressed regions. Moreover, by 2023, its renewable energy projects will have reportedly generated over 40,000 jobs, with a boost of over $4.2 billion in GDP to the US economy.
Solar projects currently account for 68% of the portfolio of Facebook's long-term agreements, while wind projects account for 32%. Its long-term agreements are also projected to result in an addition of 5,763MW of renewable energy by the end of 2023. 

Commenting on the impacts Facebook has had over recent years, Sara VanLear, project director at RTI, said: "Facebook has created a model for clean energy-based development through its investments and partnerships with local stakeholders over the last decade."

She added: "The company's impact can be seen both through the economic results, such as jobs associated to Facebook-supported renewables, and through the change in renewable energy accessibility in regions across the country."
Cumulative U.S. Data Center and Renewable Energy Megawatts by Announcement Year (Facebook)