Microsoft has attempted to expand its energy portfolio on several occasions this year by entering into partnerships with various firms. These include domestic collaborations with Invenergy and EDP Renewables, a wind energy agreement with the Netherlands-based Eneco, and a team-up with Swedish electricity retailer Vattenfall.
Today, the tech giant has announced more renewable energy initiatives as part of a new wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA) with ENGIE, a French multinational electric utility company. Aside from provision of electricity to the U.S., this collaboration will also see further implementation of ENGIE's energy software Darwin in renewable assets worldwide.
As part of the deal, Microsoft will be purchasing 230 MW of energy from ENGIE projects located in the state of Texas. While 85 MW of this amount will be acquired from the 200 MW Anson Solar Center project, the majority of it i.e. 145 MW will be purchased from the 200 MW Las Lomas wind project. After these purchases, the Redmond firm's total renewable energy portfolio will be brought to over 1,900 MW.
Furthermore, an innovative volume firming agreement in this (VFA) this PPA will see 24/7 supply of electricity in the United States. Carlo Purassanta, Area Vice President of Microsoft France, commented on the agreement in the following manner:
"Procuring more renewable energy helps transform our operations, but when we pair that with Microsoft’s leading cloud and AI tools, we can transform the world. This agreement with ENGIE is an exciting step toward a low-carbon future, driven by capital investments and enabled by data."
In addition to the supply of electricity, Microsoft has also highlighted its role in the implementation of ENGIE's Darwin software, which has been developed using intelligent cloud service in Azure, such as IoT and AI. With innovative features like real-time plant monitoring and control, reporting, forecasting, performance monitoring, and predictive maintenance, the service is already showing results in the form of enhanced production performance on some of the 15,000 MW of energy assets it is deployed on worldwide.
With these kinds of projects, ENGIE is set to globally introduce approximately 9,000 MW of new renewable energy from 2019–2021, with 2,500 MW of increased renewable energy capacity in store for North America. Additional, the French firm also plans to bring 10,000 MW of wind and solar projects in the U.S. and Canada further along the road to renewable energy deployment.