Facebook buys Nebraskan wind power

UNITED STATES: Social media giant Facebook is to buy electricity from 200MW of Tradewind Energy's 320MW Rattlesnake Creek project.

Facebook is looking to source at least half of its total electricity consumption from renewables by 2018

The $308-million project is under development in Dixon County, west of South Sioux City in Nebraska.

The electricity will be used for the social media giant's Papillion data centre, also under construction in Nebraska.

Construction of the Rattlesnake Creek wind project is expected to start by the end of this year and will be online in the fourth quarter of 2018, said developer Tradewind.

A turbine model has not yet been announced.

The project had been unveiled in 2013, but was placed on hold because power purchaser could not be found.

It will be the state's second largest project, after Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE) Renewables' 400MW Grande Prairie. The 418MW Grande Prairie II is also under development in the state.

Facebook is one of several household-name high-tech firms buying wind power for their data centers.

According to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly, Facebook is already buying wind power from two wind projects, in Iowa and Texas.

The social media giant has said it will source at least half of its total electricity consumption — most of which is used for its energy-hungry data centres — from renewable energy sources by 2018.