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. In accordance with this deal, Microsoft has also reached an agreement with ElectroRoute, dynamic energy trading and services company, which will provide energy trading services to Microsoft.
This new wind energy project will generate valuable data on energy storage. The presence of integrated batteries for each turbine present at the site means that Microsoft and GE will be able to test how this system can be utilized to capture and store excess energy and then provide it back to the grid. Interestingly, this will be the first time integrated batteries will be installed in wind turbines to store energy in Europe.
General Manager of Microsoft Datacenter Strategy, Christian Belady, noted the potential for growth of the grid, and emphasized the effect of the agreement upon Microsoft's investment in Ireland:
Microsoft is proud to be deepening our long history of investment and partnership in Ireland with this agreement. 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.
Microsoft will also be obtaining an Irish energy supply license from GE, allowing the tech giant a degree of flexibility to invest in renewable energy in Ireland. Note that once operational, the new wind project will effectively increase the amount of energy Microsoft garners through global renewable energy projects to almost 600 megawatts.
This power purchase agreement (PPA) does not only build upon Microsoft's affiliation with GE, but also signifies the firm's efforts to power its datacenters through renewable energy.