Bill Weihl, who was the “Green Energy Czar” at Google, will begin a similar position at Facebook next month. Weihl’s hiring comes as Facebook is deepending its commitment to use renewable energy as part of an agreement with Greenpeace. Weihl’s move was first reported by Fresh Dialogues (via Greenmonk), and has been confirmed by Facebook.
Weihl left Google in November after six years at Google, during which he championed the company’s efforts to boost its use of renewable energy in its data centers. That included Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to add more wind power to utility grids that support Google data centers in Council Bluffs, Iowa and Pryor, Oklahoma. Google says it expects these two agreements alone to account for 15 percent of its company-wide energy usage by the end of 2012, pushing its overall renewable mix to 35 percent.
Another focus for Weihl was Google’s effort to limit its data center’s impact on the local water supply. Google has developed one of the industry’s most advanced programs to use recycled water in its data center cooling systems, and also works closely with municipalities to ensure that its operations don’t overwhelm the capacity of local sewer systems.
Last week Greenpeace and Facebook today said they will collaborate on the promotion of green energy sources and encourage major utilities to develop renewable energy generation, with Greenpeace also discontinuing a lengthy social media and PR campaign urging Facebook to “Unfriend Dirty Coal.” As part of the agreement, Facebook said it will seek to power its new data centers using clean and renewable energy. The company has already taken a major step in this direction in its latest data center project in Sweden, which will be powered primarily by renewable energy.