Well good for Facebook

There’s an interesting post on Business Insider, titled “Facebook Runs on Coal.”

As you read through the post, and the associated TreeHugger.com blog posting, you see that Facebook’s power choices are supposed to be a problem. Truthfully, however, I’m struggling to find a reason to criticize Facebook’s choices.

We all know that coal is a domestically-sourced, abundant, affordable, and secure fuel source. And, as we continue to use new, more efficient technologies to produce energy with coal, it keeps getting cleaner.

If one takes a moment to read through the TreeHugger post, you see that even they recognize the cost issues involved. Data centers use a LOT of electricity and the Facebook people are looking at the long-term reliability of their power choices.

With the price of hydropower increasing in the Northwest, Facebook opted to bet on the incremental price increases associated with coal rather than face tier-two pricing from BPA.

Brian Oley, a data center site selection expert at the real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, said it’s no secret that the Northwest’s hydropower is getting tapped out. Oley expects that when tier-two pricing kicks in, prices will increase from two cents per kWh to six or seven cents.

Furthermore, if you review the comments under the TreeHugger.com posting, you find even less reason to question the move toward coal. It appears that the hosting service on which Tree Hugger relies is powered by Pennsylvania coal and (insert spooky music here) … nuclear power. But ignoring the hypocrisy inherent in their attacks, another comment indicates that the recent upgrades on Facebook (a PHP update called “HipHop”) actually reduced the energy demand on Facebook servers by as much as 50%.

So instead of employing the standard, knee-jerk, anti-coal attacks and criticizing Facebook, one would think that people would be cheering them on. They’re supporting jobs in the good ol’ U.S. of A., they’re using new technologies that ensure efficient energy use, they’re providing their customers with a better and faster service, and they’re choosing to support the use of a domestic, affordable, abundant, and increasingly clean energy resource.

Once again, I’m not sure where the problem lies.

18. February 2010 by Jason Hayes
Categories: Environment, Good for you, Marketplace Information | Comments Off on Well good for Facebook