Microsoft Signs New Wind PPA With GE In Ireland

Microsoft announced a new wind energy agreement in Ireland.

Microsoft has signed a 15-year agreement with General Electric (GE), a multinational conglomerate company, to purchase all of the wind energy produced in its new, 37 megawatts (MW) Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland.

The new agreement between Microsoft and GE will also produce valuable data on energy storage - as each wind turbine will be equipped with an integrated battery.

The Tullahennel wind farm also incorporates ground-breaking battery technology created to capture and store generated power and later release it to the electricity grid.

In addition, Microsoft acquired an Irish energy supply license from GE, allowing the company to sell surplus electricity into the National Grid, the Financial Times reported.

"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.

"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.

Facebook had recently partnered with Dominion Energy to supply green electricity to its data centre in Virginia from solar power plants.

In the recent years, several technology companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook have been focusing on powering their data centre or cloud operations using renewable energy sources. One large data centre can consume as much electricity as a large regional town such as Drogheda.

Christian Belady, general manager, Datacenter Strategy at Microsoft said: "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".

Building on the strategic partnership between Microsoft and General Electric (GE) announced previous year, the two firm's yesterday said they had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the County Kerry wind farm project.

In 2016, Microsoft was given approval to build another four data centers in that same area. 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.

Vanessa Coleman