By Vincent Van Son, Data Center Energy Manager
When our new data center in Altoona, Iowa, starts serving traffic in early 2015, we expect it to be supplied by 100% renewable energy, as tracked by renewable energy certificates, from a new wind project in nearby Wellsburg, Iowa.
We first started working on this project with RPM Access, a local wind project developer, as we were finalizing our decision to locate in Iowa. Earlier this spring, we transferred our rights to the development to MidAmerican Energy, our local utility, to build, own, and operate it.
Not Actual – Representation of Anticipated View of Project Once Completed in 2014
Construction is under way, and once it’s completed in 2014, the project will add up to 138 MW of new renewable wind capacity to the grid in Iowa – more than what our data center is likely to require for the foreseeable future. And since our Altoona data center will be based on the latest Open Compute Project designs, we expect that it will join our data centers in Oregon, North Carolina, and Sweden as some of the most advanced, efficient, and sustainable data centers in the world.
When we settled on Altoona as the location for our fourth data center, one of the deciding factors was the opportunity to help develop a new wind project in the state. The project brings additional investment and jobs to the region, and in effect it makes it possible, on an annualized basis, for 100% of our energy needs to be met entirely with one of Iowa’s most abundant renewable resources. We are committed to reaching 25% clean and renewable energy in our global data center mix in 2015, and we will continue to work with utilities and other partners on supply options for our other data centers.
We want to thank MidAmerican Energy, RPM Access, and everyone else who helped bring this about. We have a lot of work ahead of us to help connect everyone, understand the world, and build the knowledge economy – and we will continue to seek out solutions that allow us to do so in the most efficient and sustainable ways possible.