With so much of the information we use today stored in “the cloud” it can be easy to forget that out there, somewhere, there’s energy being used to power thousands of servers in massive data centers.
Facebook just announced that it’s going to build its first data center in Oregon. And while Google and Microsoft precede them in the state, they take advantage of cheaper and cleaner hydro power, while it looks like Facebook will be using mostly coal power from Idaho.
Yes, every time you update your Facebook status a baby polar bear dies.
OK, maybe it’s not quite that extreme, but Facebook’s decision to go with coal power is drawing some fire. Why aren’t they using hydro? Not that hydro is without environmental consequences, but when it comes to carbon emissions and public health, nothing’s worse than coal.