Microsoft has continued its commitment to renewable energy this week by announcing a new wind energy Power Purchase Agreement with GE in Ireland for the electricity generated from the 37 megawatt Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry.
Microsoft and GE announced on Monday the signing of the latest wind energy Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which will see Microsoft purchase 100% of the electricity generated by the 37 MW (megawatt) Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland. The electricity purchase will support Microsoft’s Cloud services based in Ireland and builds on the strategic partnership signed between the two companies signed in July of last year.
“Microsoft is proud to be deepening our long history of investment and partnership in Ireland with this agreement,” said Christian Belady, general manager, Datacenter Strategy at Microsoft. “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.”
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. Microsoft and GE intend to test how these batteries can be best used to capture and store excess energy before being provided back to the grid as needed. These energy storage-integrated options for variable energy sources like wind allow grid operators an opportunity to smooth out any peaks and troughs — an increasingly important tool in countries with ever-increasing levels of renewable energy capacity.
“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,” said Andrès Isaza, chief commercial officer of GE Renewable Energy. “Wind is now one of the most competitive sources of electricity on the market today, and we’re excited about the capability to use data generated from these wind turbines, using the Predix platform, to maximize the output and value of this project.”
Parallel to this PPA agreement, Microsoft has also acquired an Irish energy supply license from GE which will allow the company to more easily grow and invest in Irish renewable energy over the coming years. Specifically, ElectroRoute will act as trading service provider for the supply company.
“ElectroRoute is delighted to work with Microsoft and GE to structure and manage the energy trading activities for the supply company,” said Ronan Doherty, chief executive at ElectroRoute. “The wind energy sector is particularly vibrant in Ireland at the moment, and we are seeing the emergence of an array of new structures and procurement approaches, which I feel will persist and grow into the future.”