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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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Dan Springer

Seattle, WA

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Greenpeace De-friends Facebook

August 2, 2010 - 12:09 PM | by: Dan Springer

Greenpeace is taking its war against Facebook’s use of coal power right to the pages of Facebook and so far its got 500,000 members joining the battle.

The social network giant with 500 million users worldwide is building a date storage center in Prineville, Oregon. When operating, the center will use 30 MW of electricity which is enough to power 30,000 homes.

Most of that electricity will come from burning coal, because the region’s utility, Pacificorp, gets 58 percent of its power from coal plants in Wyoming and Utah. Greenpeace says Facebook could have located its plant in an area where most of its power came from renewable sources.

Facebook seems stunned by criticism. Its $200-million data center is being built to green standards achieving a silver LEED status. Prineville was chosen because of its high desert climate and chilly evenings. With overnight lows in the 40’s even during the summer, the servers will cool naturally using a lot less electricity.

Prineville officials are angry. Crook County has the highest unemployment in the state at 16.4 percent. Facebook is bringing 200 construction jobs and 35 good paying permanent jobs to a region decimated by cuts in the logging industry.

There used to be five timber mills in town. All are now closed due to environmental restrictions.

Greenpeace realizes there is nothing it can do to stop Facebook’s plans in Prineville, but activists are hoping to raise awareness about the technology industry and its growing appetite for electricity.

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