Facebook signs first clean energy deal in India

16 April 2021 | Antony Savvas

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Facebook has signed a major deal to buy clean wind power from a company in India to help power its offices and data centres in Asia.

It is the first such deal that the social media and advertising giant has signed in India. The 32MW wind power project - located in the southern Karnataka state - is part of a larger portfolio of wind and solar projects that Facebook and Mumbai-headquartered CleanMax are working on.

The renewable power will be supplied to India’s electrical grid and Facebook will buy that power off the grid using environmental attribute certificates, or carbon credits.

CleanMax will own and operate the projects involved. Urvi Parekh, Facebook head of renewable energy, confirmed the company would sign “long-term” electricity purchasing agreements with CleanMax.

“This enables projects to seek out the financing they would need,” she said.

Facebook has signed similar power deals in Singapore with Sunseap Group, Terrenus Energy and Sembcorp Industries for projects that can produce 160MW of solar power.

The power generated in Singapore will be used to run Facebook's first data centre there - which will also be its first in Asia - set to open some time in 2022.

The $1 billion facility will be located near where Google is expanding its existing data centre campus as part of an $850 million investment.

Outside the US, Facebook also has data centres in Ireland and Sweden and is currently building one in Denmark. With the new power deal being signed in India, there will be speculation that perhaps Facebook is looking to build a facility there too.

In a separate announcement this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company’s global operations are now supported “wholly by renewable energy” and that it has reached “net-zero emissions”.

Last month, Facebook announced plans to build two new subsea cables connecting Singapore and Indonesia to North America, one of them in partnership with Google.