Microsoft Inc wants to ensure that 50% of its global power requirements for its data center is fulfilled through renewable energy by the year 2018. In a bid to fulfill this objective, Microsoft Inc has invested in GE’s wind power plant based in Ireland. This is Microsoft’s first acquisition of renewable energy outside the US.
The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) will remain in effect for the next 15 years during which Microsoft will duly utilize 100 percent of the wind energy generated from the 37-megawatt Tullahennel wind farm situated in Ireland’s County Kerry. The Tullahennel wind farm uses battery technology which is designed to store produced electricity and distribute it evenly across the electricity grid. The acquisition will help Microsoft power its Microsoft Cloud services directly from Ireland.
Along with the agreement with GE powerplant, Microsoft has also signed an agreement with ElectroRoute, which is an energy trading company based in Dublin. ElectroRoute is owned by Mitsubishi, Japan and will provide Microsoft with numerous energy trading services. Speaking of the development, the GM of Microsoft Datacentre Strategy at Microsoft, Christian Belady, said: “Microsoft is proud to be deepening our long history of investment and partnership in Ireland with this agreement”. Microsoft wants to use the energy generated by the power plant to power its data center and enhance its capacity and capability for future use.
Apart from generating wind power, the power plant will also generate data on energy storage. Each of the turbines associated with the installation is equipped with an integrated battery model, and along with GE, Microsoft will test the productivity of the batteries to store excess energy and direct it back to the electricity grid. Microsoft will use GE’s Digital Wind Farm technology to improve electricity output and use the Predix platform to forecast energy demand and supply it. The Microsoft acquisition is unique. The battery deployment with turbines is the first of its kind Europe would experience.
Once the wind power plant is operational, the total production for renewable energy for Microsoft will become 600 megawatts. Presently, Microsoft has four operational data centers in Grange Castle, Dublin and in 2016, it was seeking permission to build four more datacentres through 900 million Euros in investment.