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Facebook Likes Walton EMC

Walton EMC has been chosen to power Facebook’s new data center with 100 percent renewable energy.

“Walton EMC is proud to be chosen as not only Facebook’s energy partner for the Newton Data Center, but also as their community partner,” said CEO Ronnie Lee.

The co-op 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. Besides generating Facebook’s green energy, the solar energy project will create hundreds of jobs and boost both the local and state economies.

The power arrangement for this project is an industry first, said Lee. Walton EMC is a national leader in renewable energy through its cooperative solar program that serves as a model for U.S. electric utilities nationwide.

“We are happy that we could guarantee the renewable energy solution that Facebook was searching for,” he said. “And we’re 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.”

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."

The renewable energy partnership was announced during a press conference where Gov. Nathan Deal confirmed that Facebook is locating its newest data center adjacent to Interstate 20 in Newton County. 

“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.”

“It’s been a pleasure to work with the Facebook team on making this vital part of their highly advanced infrastructure a reality,” said Lee.

It will also be the largest electrical load in Georgia, one of the largest electrical loads served by a cooperative nationwide and Walton EMC’s largest electrical load.

Newton Data Center Facts

  • Working with Facebook, Walton EMC will provide 100 percent of the Newton Data Center's electricity needs with solar energy.
  • Operational in 2020.
  • Facebook's ninth such state-of-the-art facility in the U.S. and 12th in the world.
  • Uses 38 percent less electricity than the average data center.
  • Outdoor air, rather than air conditioning, is used for cooling.
  • Uses 50 percent less water than the average data center.
  • Three buildings totaling 970,000 square feet will be built.
  • Two buildings will house data servers and one will serve as an administrative building.
  • Will have approximately 200 employees within five years.