Facebook to build wind farm to help power Omaha data center

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2017

WAKEFIELD, Neb. (AP) — Facebook is partnering with a developer to build a wind power farm in northeast Nebraska that will supply energy for the company’s planned data center.

The social media giant announced last week that it has partnered with Trade Winds Energy to build the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project in rural Dixon County.

Facebook plans to use energy from the wind farm to power its upcoming data center in Papillion, a suburb of Omaha. Of the 320 megawatts of power the wind farm will create, 200 of them will be allocated to the data center while the remaining will be available for other buyers.

 Officials said the project will produce the second-largest wind farm in Nebraska, behind the 400-megawatt Grande Prairie project in Holt County. Officials also said the new wind farm will generate enough energy to power 90,000 homes.

Both projects are examples of the state’s rich wind resource being acknowledged, said David Bracht, director of the Nebraska Energy Office.

“The wind projects that have been installed (in Nebraska) have shown themselves to be very, very productive,” Bracht said.

A new electric rate structure rolled out in January by the Omaha Public Power District means Facebook can power its data center with 100 percent clean energy. The company also aims to get at least 50 percent of its total electricity consumption from clean and renewable energy sources in 2018.

Neither Facebook nor Trade Winds provided a timeline or cost for the wind farm.