The Omaha Public Power District proved to be an innovative energy partner, playing a key role in helping to bring Facebook’s massive data center to Papillion, Nebraska, and enabling the company to power its new center with 100% renewable energy through its Rate 261M.
To qualify for this rate, a customer must be large enough to meet certain criteria, such as requiring a minimum of 20 MW of demand for 161 Kv service and 200 MW of demand for 345-kV service. A customer also needs to own or acquire its own substation.
“We’re on a mission to connect the world, and we’re committed to powering this connectivity with the smallest footprint possible,” Peter Freed, renewable energy manager at Facebook, was quoted as saying in a press release on OPPD’s website. “Our goal is to reach 50 percent clean and renewable energy in our electricity supply mix for our data centers in 2018, and our work with OPPD brings us one step closer.”
Facebook will get its renewable energy from the resurrected Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project. The project is located in Dixon County, Nebraska — about 100 miles from the data center — and will create up to 300 additional construction jobs.
The original development generated a buzz in 2013 when Kansas-based Tradewind Energy made its plans for the development public. But the company mothballed the project when it couldn’t find a buyer in time to take advantage of federal tax credits, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
The new Rattlesnake Creek project at 320 megawatts is significantly larger than the original iteration of 200 megawatts.
Facebook will purchase 200 megawatts of the Rattlesnake Creek’s output and the remaining 120 megawatts will be sold to other buyers.
Construction is expected to start by the end of this year. Once completed, it will be the second-largest wind farm in Nebraska.