What could be more ironic (and symbolic) than a data center powered by renewable energy on the site of a former coal-burning power plant? That’s exactly what Google is planning for the Widows Creek power plant in Jackson County, Alabama.
Google has reached a deal with the power company which owns the facility, the Tennessee Valley Authority, to supply the project with renewable energy from sources such as wind and solar. Nearly half of Google’s 14 data centers are powered by renewable energy and the tech giant has plans to convert the balance of its data centers to 100% renewable energy.
The data center industry in general is moving toward clean energy sources to power the enormous racks of servers housed in facilities across the U.S. As corporate social responsibility programs ramp up to address the growing energy demands of data centers and increasing public scrutiny of carbon emissions, companies will be faced with increasing pressure to convert data centers to full or partial renewable energy sources. Google’s move is symbolic in that it anticipates that trend and makes a bold statement that it not only wants to go green, it wants to help older industries “green-up” their acts.