In recent days, Microsoft has highlighted its commitment to the conservation of environmental resources and the importance of using renewable energy. The tech giant announced a wind energy agreement with Eneco, while also detailing its role in helping scientists use AI to help the environment.
Today, Microsoft has announced a new collaboration with Swedish electricity retailer Vattenfall to help with the development of advanced, sustainable datacentres in Sweden. This is not the first partnership the two companies have formed, with both previously teaming up on a wind power deal in 2017.
Microsoft's CVP Noelle Walsh has stated the ultimate ambition as part of this partnership to be "achieving zero-carbon operations". This goal follows from Microsoft President Brad Smith's statement in April, in which he announced that 60% of the company's datacentres would be powered by renewable energy by the end of this year, with a further 10% increase by 2023.
The new datacentres in Sweden will be developed with the help of new power infrastructure and modern solutions that will help reduce their carbon footprint. This will help provide stable power to Sweden and it surrounding areas. Moreover, the proposed datacentres will assist in accommodating the increasing demand of cloud and internet services in Europe. As per the company's Q3 2019 earnings report, a 41% year-over-year increase was observed in commercial cloud revenue.
Andreas Regnell, Senior Vice President, Strategic Development, Vattenfall, detailed further aspects of the partnership, noting:
"We will support Microsoft on the sourcing and supply of renewable energy for the future datacentres and help provide innovative solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of the datacentres. Vattenfall Distribution as the regional network owner will construct and build the distribution infrastructure required to connect the large-scale facilities. Over time, the new infrastructure will help further reduce the carbon footprint of the datacentres, while at the same time reinforce an already strong electricity grid in Gävle and Sandviken to the benefit of the people who live there."
For even more efficiency and renewable energy use, Microsoft also plans on launching a new data-driven circular cloud initiative to "monitor performance and streamline the reuse, resale and recycling of datacentre assets, including servers". The development of new datacentres in Sweden joins the company's other planned European datacentres in Norway and Switzerland. Its existing datacentres in the continent span the likes of Austria, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.