Updated Aug 28, 2018

Facebook rolls out plan for carbon cuts and 100% renewable power

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 75% in 2020 and power its worldwide operations solely with renewable energy by the end of that year, the company said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Data centers for major tech companies suck up lots of power — those operations accounted for the vast bulk of Facebook's 2.46 million megawatt-hours of electricity use last year.

  • That's enough to power over 228,000 average American homes, according to a back-of-the-envelope calculation using Energy Information Administration data on average residential power use.
  • Facebook, according to its website, was responsible for 979,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent last year, and roughly two-thirds came from powering data centers.

The big picture: Tuesday's announcement is the tech giant's first greenhouse gas target. And it expands on a prior pledge of getting 50% of its power from renewables, which the company says it reached last year.

  • It highlights the growing role of corporate procurement in driving expansion of wind and solar power, and tech industry giants are playing a major role. Renewable purchasing deals are at record levels this year.

More broadly, Apple announced in April that all its worldwide operations are now powered by renewables, the same month that Google said it met 100% of its worldwide power needs with renewables for the first time last year.

How it works: Facebook said it will use a variety of contracting methods, such as renewable energy tariffs and direct power purchase agreements, to meet its renewables target.

  • "All of the projects are additional and new. In other words, these projects would not be happening without the long-term financial commitment that Facebook has undertaken," spokeswoman Melanie Roe said.
  • In one case, the company announced a deal with Pacific Power last month to build 437 megawatts worth of solar projects to supply an Oregon data center.

Go deeper: The corporate renewables surge.

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

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South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.