Apex’s Great Pathfinder wind farm will power Meta’s 5 million sq ft Altoona data center.
Meta – the company formerly known Facebook – has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Apex Clean Energy to procure wind energy in Iowa.
The social media giant as signed a deal for the full 225MW capacity of the Great Pathfinder Wind project located in Boone and Hamilton Counties. The wind farm is due to being operations in 2022.
“Our partnership with Meta positions Great Pathfinder Wind as a best-in-class clean energy project benefiting communities in central Iowa and across the Hawkeye State,” said Mark Goodwin, Apex Clean Energy president and CEO. “Leveraging Iowa’s tremendous wind resources will accelerate the deployment of clean energy, create local jobs, and generate significant local and state economic investment—a trifecta of benefits only possible through trusted collaboration.”
Facebook began work on its Altoona data center in 2013. In December 2021, the company announced a seventh expansion that will take the Iowa campus to a dozen buildings spanning more than five million sq ft (464,500 sqm).
The latest round of build-out is expected to be completed in 2025 and will have seen the company invest more than $2.5 billion on the campus in total. The company previously announced expansions to the site earlier in 2021 as well as 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and earlier.
“We are proud to partner with Apex to continue bringing new renewable energy resources, investment, and jobs to Iowa through this new wind project,” said Urvi Parekh, director of renewable energy at Meta. “Iowa’s ability to host high-quality wind projects, while providing a welcoming business environment, has made it a great home for our data center, and we hope this investment demonstrates our continued commitment to the state and the local community.”
The PPA represents Apex’s fifth transaction with Meta, following a 61.6MW PPA for its Altavista Solar project in Virginia; a 200MW PPA for the Aviator Wind East in Texas; a 175MW PPA with Lincoln Land Wind farm in Illinois; and, most recently in March 2021, a 197MW PPA with Jayhawk Wind project in Kansas.
Facebook says that as of 2020, its operations were supported by 100 percent renewable energy and the company has reached net-zero emissions. The company said it has contracts in place for more than 6GW of wind and solar energy across 18 states and five countries, with all 63+ projects located on the same electrical grids as the data centers they support.
“We’ve reached net-zero emissions for our operations and we’re one of the largest buyers of renewable energy in the world – resulting in $8 billion invested in 63 wind and solar projects around the world, creating tens of thousands of jobs,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his site. “Thanks to our team and partners who helped reach this goal!”
Apex said the new wind farm will generate approximately $32 million in local tax revenue, $74 million in payments to landowners, 270 full-time local jobs during construction, and nine long-term local operations positions.