Walton Electric seals two solar deals for Facebook's Newton Data Center
Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), a consumer-owned utility, has executed contracts with two solar developers for three new solar projects as part of its agreement to supply 100 percent renewable energy for Facebook's data center in Newton County, Georgia. The collaboration is the largest solar development project in Georgia.
Facebook chose Walton EMC as the power supplier for the Newton Data Center when it announced the 970,000 sq.ft facility in March.
Silicon Ranch and Strata Solar will construct world-class solar power plants that will support the new data centre, wil be located in Southwest Georgia.
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The Newton Data Center is Facebook's ninth such state-of-the-art facility in the country. The centers are among the most advanced, energy-efficient facilities in the world. They use 38% less electricity than the average data centre.
Walton EMC CEO Ronnie Lee said: “We are happy to welcome Silicon Ranch and Strata Solar to the quality partnership of Facebook, Walton EMC and Morgan Stanley to complete the groundbreaking energy supply arrangement for Facebook's Newton Data Center. Our unique agreements will serve as models for similar projects all across the country and bring noteworthy economic rewards locally.”
Rachel Peterson, vice president of data center strategy for Facebook said: “We are thrilled to be working with Walton EMC, Silicon Ranch and Strata Solar to bring more than 200 megawatts (mW) of new solar resources to Georgia. We are committed to supporting all of Facebook's operations with 100 percent renewable energy and these new solar facilities will help us meet that goal for our Newton Data Center. Developing these resources within the same electric grid that supports our data centre will bring even more investment to the region."
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.