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Microsoft signs new wind power deal

Investment will add 37 megawatts of clean energy to Irish grid and grow its capability and reliability

The County Kerry farm will integrate GE's digital wind technology. Image: GE Renewable Energy
The County Kerry farm will integrate GE's digital wind technology. Image: GE Renewable Energy

Microsoft has struck a deal with GE to acquire 100 per cent of the wind energy from its new, 37-megawatt Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland.


The 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) will help support the growing demand for Microsoft cloud services from Ireland.


In 2016, Microsoft set clean energy commitments to power its data centres and bring new renewable energy sources online in the communities in which it operates.


As part of the agreement, Microsoft also signed an agreement with Dublin-based energy trading company ElectroRoute which will provide energy trading services to the tech giant.


“Microsoft is proud to be deepening our long history of investment and partnership in Ireland with this agreement,” said Christian Belady, general manager, data centre strategy at Microsoft.


“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.”


In addition to producing energy, the project will produce valuable data on energy storage. Each turbine will have an integrated battery; and the companies will test how these batteries can be used to capture and store excess energy, and then provide it back to the grid as needed.


This will provide more predictable power to an increasingly green Irish grid, by smoothing out peaks and valleys in wind production, the partners claim.


It will also be the first deployment of battery integration into wind turbines to store energy in Europe.


This PPA builds on Microsoft’s strategic partnership with GE, announced last year. The wind farm will integrate GE’s digital wind farm technology. According to GE, digital models, built on its Predix platform, ensure energy generation supplied can meet demand forecasted and reduce intermittency concerns.


“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, using the Predix platform, to maximise the output and value of this project,” added Andrès Isaza, chief commercial officer of GE Renewable Energy.


Microsoft said the agreement continues its history of supporting sustainability projects in Ireland, including a new forestry initiative, announced earlier this year, and investments in energy efficiency measures and technologies that have greatly reduced its energy and water footprint.


Once operational, the new wind project will bring Microsoft’s total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 600 megawatts.


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