Facebook (FB.O) has signed a deal to buy renewable energy in India from a local firm’s wind power project, the social media giant’s first such deal in the South Asian nation, the companies said on Thursday.
Facebook also said that as of 2020, the company’s global operations were supported wholly by renewable energy and that it has reached net-zero emissions.
The 32 megawatt wind power project, located in southern Karnataka state, is part of a larger portfolio of wind and solar projects that Facebook and Mumbai-based CleanMax are working on together to supply renewable power into India’s electrical grid, they said in a joint statement.
CleanMax will own and operate the projects, while Facebook will buy the power off the grid using environmental attribute certificates, or carbon credits, the companies said. About half of the project’s capacity has recently been commissioned and is already generating power, they added.
Facebook’s head of renewable energy, Urvi Parekh, told Reuters the company typically doesn’t own the power plants but instead signs “long-term” electricity purchasing agreements with the renewable power company.
“That enables the project to seek out the financing that it would need,” she said.
India is Facebook’s biggest market by users.
Parekh said Facebook has similar partnerships in Singapore with energy providers Sunseap Group, Terrenus Energy and Sembcorp Industries (SCIL.SI) on projects that can produce 160 MW of solar power.
The electricity generated from these plants will power the tech giant’s first Asian data centre, she added, which Facebook previously said was expected to start operations next year.
Data centres driving tech companies like Facebook use up as much as 1% of the world’s total energy, the International Energy Agency said last year.
Tech companies like Amazon (AMZN.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) have pledged to operate carbon-free and achieve net-zero emissions, as demand for data and digital services is expected to see a sustained rise.