Commercial, Finance, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  October 9, 2017

Microsoft wind PPA paired with storage, trading

Microsoft Corp. has announced a unique arrangement through which it will purchase wind energy for its Microsoft Cloud services in Ireland and test the integration of energy storage into the country's grid. 

The technology company said in an Oct. 9 news release that it has signed a power purchase agreement with General Electric for 100% of the wind energy from a new, 37-MW wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland. As part of the deal, it also signed an agreement with Dublin-based energy trading company ElectroRoute; it will provide energy trading services to Microsoft. 

In addition to producing energy, the Tullahennel wind farm project will also produce data on energy storage. Each turbine will have an integrated battery; Microsoft and GE will test how these batteries can be used to capture and store excess energy, and then provide it back to the grid as needed. The company says the project marks the first deployment of battery integration into wind turbines to store energy in Europe.

"This provides more predictable power to an increasingly green Irish grid, by smoothing out peaks and valleys in wind production," Microsoft said. "This will better enable intermittent clean power sources like wind energy to be added to the Irish grid."

The wind farm PPA is an extention of a strategic partnership between GE and Microsoft announced in 2016. 

 

Microsoft is also acquiring an Irish energy supply license from GE. The supply license, according to the news release, is expected to benefit both Microsoft and the Irish power grid by allowing the company the flexibility to easily grow and invest in renewable energy in Ireland over time. ElectroRoute will act as trading service provider for the supply company."

In an Oct. 9 blog post, Christian Belady, general manager of Microsoft Cloud infrastructure and operations, and Brian Janous, general manager of energy for Microsoft, said the project aligns with the corporate renewable energy targets set in 2016. The two wrote:

The integration of R&D with providing new capacity that benefits both local consumers and Microsoft is what makes this deal different than other power purchase agreements. It represents the holistic approach Microsoft takes to advancing the availability and adoption of renewable energy in every market in which we operate.

The integration of R&D with providing new capacity that benefits both local consumers and Microsoft is what makes this deal different than other power purchase agreements. It represents the holistic approach Microsoft takes to advancing the availability and adoption of renewable energy in every market in which we operate. 

 

Once operational, Microsoft says the wind project will bring its total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 600 MW. 

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