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Meta Agrees To Buy Iowa Wind Farm's Entire Capacity To Power Nearby Data Center Campus

Meta will use the entire capacity of an Iowa wind farm to power its nearby data center campus, the latest example of the tech industry driving demand for renewable energy projects.


Facebook’s newly rebranded parent company has signed an agreement with Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy to purchase all 225 megawatts produced by Apex’s renewable energy project in Iowa, Apex announced Monday.

Expected to go online later this year, power from the so-called Great Pathfinder Wind development, which spans Boone and Hamilton counties in central Iowa, will provide power to Meta’s massive data center campus 40 miles away in Altoona, Iowa. 

“Iowa’s ability to host high-quality wind projects, while providing a welcoming business environment, has made it a great home for our data center, and we hope this investment demonstrates our continued commitment to the state and the local community,” Meta Director of Renewable Energy Urvi Parekh said in a written statement.

Meta’s power purchase comes amid the company’s expansion of its already sizable hyperscale data center facility in Altoona. Due to be completed in 2025, the larger Altoona campus will have close to 5M SF of total data center space. It is the seventh such expansion at the site since what was then Facebook first broke ground there in 2013. 

Meta, like other hyperscale data center owners and operators, has driven a number of renewable energy developments throughout the U.S. and globally in recent years as the company aims to meet carbon neutrality goals. According to data released by the company in 2021, Meta has been involved in more than 63 renewable energy projects in 18 states and five countries, producing more than 6 gigawatts of clean power. Facebook announced it achieved its goal of carbon neutrality in 2020. 

“We are committed to bringing renewable energy close to where we operate,” Meta’s Parekh told The Wall Street Journal in August.

One of these projects was Facebook’s partnership with Rocky Mountain Power to build a 120-megawatt solar project in Utah to support its 2.4M SF data center outside of Salt Lake City. The project is expected to go live in 2023 and will increase the state of Utah’s renewable energy capacity by 50%.

Meta’s agreement with Apex in Iowa represents the fifth such transaction between the two companies. The social media hyperscaler previously bought over 633 megawatts across four of Apex’s solar ad wind projects in Virginia, Texas, Illinois and Kansas. 

But it is not just Meta whose data centers are driving renewable energy development. Other hyperscalers are both directly and indirectly financing green energy projects, as most major data center users and operators pursue carbon neutrality or other environmental goals. Hyperscale data centers for giants like Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft are creating localized green energy booms, even in places like Georgia where there is little promotion of renewable energy infrastructure. 

The Environmental Protection Agency Monday named Google and Microsoft as the country’s top two users of renewable energy among companies that participate in the agency's Green Power Partnership program. Data Center REIT Equinix ranked No. 6.