Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Microsoft to buy energy from GE's Irish wind farm

Microsoft to buy energy from GE's Irish wind farm

Building on the strategic partnership between Microsoft and General Electric (GE) announced past year, the two firm's yesterday said they had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the County Kerry wind farm project. The computing giant expects the deal to help support an expansion of its cloud computing services offerings in the country. The Tullahennel facility, in County Kerry, will provide 37 megawatts of power. The PPA builds on a strategic partnership between GE and Microsoft formed past year to make GE's Predix cloud-based data analysis platform available on Microsoft's Azure cloud for industrial businesses.

GE said the project will also generate data on energy storage. Each of the turbines will be fitted with an integrated battery and both GE and Microsoft will carry out research to determine how best these batteries can be used to store the excess electricity generated by the turbines. This will provide more predictable power to the grid.

After GE is able to complete the wind farm and bring it to a fully operational state, Microsoft will be receiving as much as 600 megawatts directly from renewable sources of energy.

"Microsoft is proud to be deepening our long history of investment and partnership in Ireland with this agreement", said Christian Belady, General Manager, Datacentre Strategy at Microsoft. When Facebook was designing its data center in Prineville, Oregon, even back in 2011 it was thinking about energy efficiency. The release noted that it will be the first big implementation of batteries into European wind turbines. That will likely result in a lower energy bill for Microsoft, while reducing the pollution related to running cloud services. The wind farm will integrate GE's Digital Wind Farm technology, which makes renewable energy outputs even more reliable. Andres Isaza, the Chief Commercial Officer at GE's renewable energy division stated that the new Microsoft deal will significantly boost GE's footprint in Ireland where it has already hired 1,500 people including those in the renewable energy sector. ElectroRoute will act as trading service provider for the supply company.

Facebook had recently partnered with Dominion Energy to supply green electricity to its data centre in Virginia from solar power plants. The new project will bring the company's total global renewable energy projects to nearly 600 MW, or enough to power more than a million homes.

The PPA follows Microsoft and GE's partnership announced a year ago.

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