Microsoft boosts green energy portfolio with General Electric agreement

Above Generic image of Wind Farm Image Credit Shutterstock

Above Generic image of Wind Farm Image Credit Shutterstock

Microsoft has inked a 15-year agreement with General Electric (GE) to purchase all wind energy produced at GE's new 37-megawatt wind farm in County Kerry, in the southwestern corner of Ireland.

The new wind project will see some of Microsoft's cloud data centres in the country using exclusively clean energy as a power source, bringing the company's total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to nearly 600 megawatts, according to a statement.

Each turbine at the site will have a battery integrated into it to help generate "valuable data" relating to energy storage, GE said.

The two companies said the project would help to encourage wider uptake of intermittent renewable power sources on the grid and would be "the first deployment of battery integration into wind turbines to store energy in Europe".

The main aim of doing this is to smooth out the intermittency of the wind farm's output and seamlessly integrate the power onto the grid.

The deal is notable not only because it gives Microsoft msft sustainable power for its cloud operations in Ireland-the base for the company's European operations-but because of the nature of the equipment itself, and the implications thereof. The deal also makes Microsoft the first multinational tech firm to support a new wind project in the country.

Microsoft and GE began what the two parties called a "broad strategic partnership" in summer 2016, beginning with efforts to marry the Predix platform to Microsoft's Azure cloud technology.

The deal is part of a so-called power purchase agreement (PPA) that allow companies like Microsoft to offset the huge amount of energy their data centers consume, often from less environmentally friendly sources, by pushing clean energy to the grid.

According to Andres Isaza, chief commercial officer of GE Renewable Energy, "This partnership with Microsoft expands GE's considerable presence and investment in Ireland, where we already employ over 1,500 people and in particular in the renewable energy sector".

"ElectroRoute is delighted to work with Microsoft and GE to structure and manage the energy trading activities for the supply company", said Ronan Doherty, CEO at ElectroRoute. The Bill Gates-founded company has now reached 600MW of renewable energy projects procured worldwide and has invested in forestry and energy efficiency schemes in Ireland.

Once operational, the new wind project will bring Microsoft's total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to nearly 600 megawatts, the company said.

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