Facebook data center a major contributor to N.M. clean energy goals - Smart Energy Decisions

Utilities, Commercial, Solar, Wind  -  May 18, 2020

Facebook data center a major contributor to N.M. clean energy goals

The expansion of 396 MW of solar and wind power that Facebook sources for its data center operations in New Mexico was found to account for a large amount of the state’s clean energy generation and to be a major factor in the state reaching their own renewable energy goals.

Of the 1,064 MW of capacity in Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) renewables portfolio, Facebook’s 300-acre Los Lunas data center accounts for 37%, with 180 MW of solar and 216 MW of wind capacity.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis conducted the Corporate Renewables Case Study: Facebook’s Green Energy Goals Are Speeding the Transition Of New Mexico’s Electricity Sector. This report projects that the renewable energy generated for the Facebook data complex will push PNM’s total electricity supply to consist of 43% renewables by 2023, up from just 9.7% in 2013. Coal, which used to account for the majority of PNM’s supply, will account for less than 7% of their supply within two years.

PNM acquired the rights to sourcing renewable energy for Facebook’s data center in a series of three PPAs with wind and solar projects across the state in 2018.

“These early results make the model one worth considering elsewhere, particularly given expectations of continued strong growth in the tech sector as the COVID-19 pandemic creates lasting effects that will keep commerce and cultural activities more digitally reliant than they have been historically,” Karl Cates, an IEEFA analyst and lead author of the report, said in a statement. “Data centers can be seen also as catalysts for bringing broadband Internet to rural areas that don’t have it yet.”

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