Microsoft reaches agreement with GE to use wind power for data centres

Microsoft power data centres with wind energy sources from Kerry

The announcement comes a week after Belgian offshore wind farm developer Parkwind said it would become a strategic partner in the Oriel Wind Farm in the northwest Irish Sea.

Microsoft has continued its commitment to renewable energy this week by announcing a new wind energy Power Purchase Agreement with GE in Ireland for the electricity generated from the 37 megawatt Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry. Each turbine is expected to have an integrated battery and GE and Microsoft will test these batteries for finding out how they can be used capturing and storing excess energy.

Microsoft will also acquire an Irish energy supply license from GE, which will prove beneficial for both Microsoft and the Irish power grid as it will allow the company the flexibility to easily grow and invest in renewable energy in Ireland over time. If there is surplus energy captured by this method, the companies could pass it on to the Irish energy grid.

"Once operational, the new wind project will bring Microsoft's total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to nearly 600 megawatts", the press release says. Moreover, the wind farm will integrate GE's Digital Wind Farm technology, which increases the reliability of renewable energy outputs.

"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", Andres Isaza, GE Renewable Energy's chief commercial officer, said in a statement. In 2016, the two companies entered into a partnership to make GE's Predix platform available on Microsoft Azure, a tit-for-tat agreement that would make Predix available to collect data from industrial devices that could then be handed off for additional processing by Microsoft cloud apps.

Microsoft's goal is to ensure that 50pc of its global data centre power requirements are sourced from renewable energy by 2018. This deployment of battery integration into wind turbines for storage of energy, will be the first of its kind in Europe.

Christian Belady, general manager of Microsoft's datacenter strategy, said the project would help make it easier to incorporate renewables onto Ireland's grid. Last week, the European Union pledged as much as 2.2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) of European Union support to battery technology, mainly in support of electric vehicles.

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