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Microsoft Announced Its Wind Energy Purchase: Wyoming Data Center to be Powered

Nov 17, 2016 08:59 AM EST

Good news for clean energy! On Monday, Microsoft has announced its biggest wind energy purchase. The tech giant has signed a new wind farm contract to purchase 237 MW of wind energy capable of powering their Wyoming Data Center.

According to the company in a news release, they have contracted to buy wind from a 178 MW Bloom Wind Farm in Kansas and 59 MW from Wyoming-based Silver Sage and Happy Jack farms. This is supplemental to their present 110 MW contract  in Texas and 75 MW wind farm agreement in Illinois, indicating that with the latest round of purchase, the company has gone over the 500 MW mark.

Brad Smith, chief legal officer of Microsoft, said that the company remains committed to building a responsible cloud, and these developments are a way forward to their goal of enhancing the energy mix at various datacenters. He added that the company's commitment goes beyond greening their own operations since the projects will assist in the creation of a greener and more reliable grid in the areas they operate.

For the Silver Sage and Happy Jack farms, Microsoft will be collaborating with Black Hills Energy. The company stated that the backup generator of their data center will be used as a secondary resource for the complete grid, indicating that when the demand is high, the local community will be supplied electricity by Microsoft. They proposed this offer to Black Hills Energy when they found that the former was planning to build a new center in Cheyenne. As a result, the two partnered to come up with a new tariff without having to set up the plant.

Smith explained that this is a tiny step toward a future where other resources can make the grid more reliable, efficient and the potential of combining intermittent sources of energy like solar and wind. In the early part of 2016, Microsoft had announced to increase their dependency on renewable energy from 44 percent today to 50 percent by 2018 and by 60 percent by the early part of the next decade.

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