Software major Microsoft announced its 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with GE to purchase 100 percent of the wind energy from its 37-megawatt Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland.
The wind energy contract is expected to support the growing demand for Microsoft Cloud services in Ireland. Microsoft said it also signed an agreement with Dublin-based energy trading company ElectroRoute; it will provide energy trading services to Microsoft.
Microsoft and GE will test how these batteries can be used to capture and store excess energy, and then provide it back to the grid as needed.
This provides more predictable power to Irish grid, by smoothing out peaks and valleys in wind production. This will enable intermittent clean power sources like wind energy to be added to the Irish grid. This will be the first deployment of battery integration into wind turbines to store energy in Europe.
“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.
This PPA builds on Microsoft’s partnership with GE, announced last year. The wind farm will integrate GE’s Digital Wind Farm technology, which makes renewable energy outputs even more reliable.
“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 Andres Isaza, chief commercial officer of GE Renewable Energy.
Microsoft is also acquiring an Irish energy supply license from GE. The supply license will benefit both Microsoft and the Irish power grid, as it allows the company the flexibility to easily grow and invest in renewable energy in Ireland over time. ElectroRoute will act as trading service provider for the supply company.
The new wind project will bring Microsoft’s total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 600 megawatts. In 2016, Microsoft set clean energy commitments to power its datacenters and bring new renewable energy sources online in the communities in which it operates.