MONROE, Ga. – The local business community is already feeling the benefits of social media giant Facebook’s decision to build a new data center at Stanton Springs. Immediately following Gov. Nathan Deal’s announcement Wednesday, Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), put out a press release following up on Deals announcement that Facebook, Inc. has chosen the company to power Newton Data Center with 100 percent renewable energy.
According to the press release, Walton EMC will install hundreds of acres of solar panels on Georgia’s electric grid “as part of an innovative power supply agreement with the technology company,” a move that official at Walton EMC say will add hundreds of jobs to the local and state economies. Walton EMC CEO Ronnie Lee said the power purchase arrangement designed for customer choice is an industry first, going on to say that Walton EMC is a national leader in renewable energy.
“The cooperative designed a community-supported solar energy program that has served as a model for electric utilities nationwide. We are happy that we could guarantee the renewable energy solution that Facebook was searching for,” Lee said. “And we are pleased to be partnering with them on a power supply arrangement that can serve as a positive economic and environmental template for future industrial developments throughout the nation.”
The renewable energy partnership was announced during the governor’s press conference announcing Facebook’s decision to open the data center at Stanton Springs.
“We are committed to powering our data centers with 100 percent clean and renewable energy, and finding strong partners that can help us achieve that ambitious goal is a key part of our selection process,” said Rachel Peterson, vice president of data center strategy at Facebook. “We are excited to work with Walton EMC to bring hundreds of megawatts of renewable energy to the electrical grid in Georgia.”
According to the press release, Morgan Stanley commodities division, Walton EMC’s wholesale energy supplier, is helping provide long-term cost stability and reliability from renewable projects to both Walton EMC and Facebook.
“Morgan Stanley is extremely pleased to partner with Walton EMC and Facebook on this important, landmark transaction. This innovative transaction demonstrates our commitment to helping our clients secure low-cost, clean energy through market-based solutions,” said Jay Rubenstein, head of the North American power and gas business at Morgan Stanley.
The Newton Data Center is Facebook’s ninth such state-of-the-art facility in the country. Three buildings totaling 970,000 square feet will make up Newton Data Center. Lee said Facebook has a reputation for being one of the most “advanced, energy-efficient facilities in the world, using 38 percent less electricity than the average data center.”
Contributing factors include:
-Cooling is accomplished using outdoor air, rather than air conditioners.
-Hyper-efficient hardware powers Facebook apps and services.
-All electricity used is 100 percent clean and renewable.
Teaming on an innovative renewable energy solution is a natural for the like-minded companies, Lee said.
“Our goals and missions are similar in many ways,” he said. “One of the bedrock principles that our cooperative operates by is ‘concern for community.’ Likewise, Facebook has shown that it cares about the communities where it chooses to locate its state-of-the-art facilities. That extends to caring for our environment.”
Facebook’s Newton Data Center is expected to be operational in 2020, the purpose of the operation to help bring Facebook apps and services to more than 2 billion people worldwide.