Fellows in the News

Under the hood, Facebook — the sixth most visited website, according to Alexa — is basically a bunch of data centers. Those data centers use up loads of energy, consuming up to 50 times the energy of a typical commercial office building of the same size, the US Department of Energy says.

In fact, they account for more than 95% of the energy that Facebook consumes. Urvi Parekh’s job is to make sure the energy they use is clean.

Facebook’s head of renewable energy, Parekh joined the company almost four years ago — a time when companies were making more ambitious commitments than states in curbing carbon-dioxide emissions, she says.

“It was a moment of transformation in the industry,” Parekh, a mechanical engineer by trade, adds.

Since Urvi took the reins, Facebook has committed to powering its global operations with 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020, up from about 44% when she started. And the firm has quickly grown into one of the largest buyers of clean-energy in the US.

Facebook was the second-largest buyer of renewable energy globally in 2019, purchasing 1.1 gigawatts of power, according to data from the research firm BloombergNEF.

The pandemic has been a challenge for installing renewable energy, but Parekh says her team is still on track to hit its target.

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