Microsoft, Primus Power unveil pilot program for datacenter energy storage - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Distributed Energy Resources, Energy Storage, Industrial, Regulation, Commercial, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  June 20, 2016

Microsoft unveils pilot program for data center energy storage

Microsoft has teamed up with NRG Energy Inc., Primus Power and others on a pilot program to advance energy storage at Microsoft’s data centers across the globe.

The pilot program will be carried out in collaboration with NRG Energy, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and battery technology providers including Primus Power, according to a recent announcement from Microsoft Corp. made at a White House summit focused on scaling renewable energy and storage with smart markets. 

The new initiative will test storage technologies that use batteries to act as grid resources to improve reliability, energy efficiency and usability of renewable energy, Microsoft said. Multihour duration flow batteries, like those pioneered by Primus, are being evaluated for their ability to deliver uniform power for 20 years without fade or component replacement.

"Exploring next generation technologies for energy storage and management is a key component of Microsoft’s datacenter strategy to help fulfill our company’s ongoing commitment to 100% carbon neutrality," Microsoft's Rob Bernard wrote in a blog post about the program. "In support of this broader effort, today we announced a pilot program with Primus Power, which will advance energy storage at datacenters globally." 

The White House summit, according to a news release from the Obama administration, brought together regulators, power companies, municipalities and energy developers that are leading efforts to promote smart electricity markets and greater grid integration of renewable energy and flexible resources such as energy storage. As part of the event, the White House announced new executive actions alongside 33 state and private sector commitments the administration says will accelerate the grid integration of renewable energy and storage. 

"Together, these announcements are expected to result in at least 1.3 gigawatts of additional storage procurement or deployment in the next five years," the White House said. 

Microsoft in May committed to powering its data centers more directly with renewable energy, as opposed to just offsetting their heavy electric use by purchasing renewable energy credits, or RECs. For more on Microsoft's corporate energy strategy, including plans for its data centers, read our recent interview with Brian Janous,  the company's director of energy strategy by clicking here

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