Microsoft has reached an agreement with GE to purchase all of the energy from its wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland, as it looks to increase the use of renewable energy in its data centres.
The companies have agreed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) which Microsoft states will support growing demand for its cloud services in Ireland.
The move is part of Microsoft’s aim of committing to powering its data centres through renewable energy. The firm has set itself the target of producing 50% of its data centre energy requirements through green sources by 2018.
The agreement for the energy created at the 37MW Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry Ireland will also help both companies understand energy storage, with each turbine containing an integrated battery, which will store excess energy and send it back to the grid.
This process helps supply energy in a more predictable way than wind alone can provide, due to the peaks and troughs in wind production. It will be the first project of its kind in Europe.
Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with GE last year, and this agreement forms part of that partnership. GE’s Digital Wind Farm technology will be used, which aims to make green energy sources more reliable, and more able to meet forecasted demand.
Microsoft data centre strategy GM, Christian Belady, said: “Our commitment will help bring new, clean energy to the Irish grid, and contains innovative elements that have the potential to grow the capacity, reliability and capability of the grid.
“This will make it easier to incorporate new clean power sources like wind energy, and that is good for the environment, for Ireland and for our company.”
The agreement, once operational, will increase Microsoft’s global renewable energy portfolio to 600MW. As well as the agreement, Microsoft is also acquiring an Irish energy supply license from GE, which enables it to invest in renewable energy in Ireland over a longer period.
“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”, said chief commercial officer of renewable energy at GE, Andres Isaza.
“Wind is now one of the most competitive sources of electricity on the market today, and we’re excited about the capability to use data generated from these wind turbines.”