Microsoft signs major wind power deal in green data centre push

Microsoft has inked a major wind energy deal for its data centres

Microsoft has announced a sizeable wind power deal for its data centres in another move by a tech giant to tout it green credentials.

Microsoft said it has signed a deal with EDF Renewable Energy to build a facility called Pilot Hill Wind Project, which will provide an estimated 675,000MWh of renewable energy per year. The project will be operational by 2015.

Microsoft chief environmental strategist Robert Bernard said in a blog post that the deal underlined the firm’s commitment to reducing its fossil fuel energy use and adopting sustainable energy.

“By purchasing wind, we will reduce the overall amount of emissions associated with operating Microsoft facilities and hopefully spur additional investment in renewable energy,” he said. “Because the Chicago data centre draws power from the Illinois power grid, projects like Pilot Hill help provide a non-polluting source of energy that displaces greenhouse gas emissions from conventional power.”

Microsoft said the deal was its latest commitment to green energy, noting that one data centre in San Antonio, Texas, uses recycled waste water for cooling. The firm added that its facility in Quincy, Washington, uses hydropower as its primary energy source.

Greenpeace senior energy campaigner David Pomerantz welcomed the move and used it as another opportunity to discuss the failure of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to match others in the industry, such as Google, by using renewable energy.

“Microsoft’s wind energy purchase shows that it intends to compete in the race among cloud computing companies to power their operations with renewable energy,” he said. “As other companies move to embrace solar and wind, AWS risks losing business from customers that are beginning to expect their cloud to be powered by renewable energy.”

Greenpeace recently slated AWS on this topic after Apple announced plans for another giant solar project as it makes green energy use a key priority.

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