Just over a year ago, Microsoft announced its largest wind purchase to date: a 175 megawatt (MW) wind facility outside of Chicago that would generate more than enough energy to fully power Microsoft’s Chicago data center.
Today, we’re proud to announce that the Pilot Hill Wind Project is up and running—delivering clean, renewable energy that will power that facility for the next 20 years. This project will allow our Chicago data center to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy, today and into the future. EDF Renewable Energy, owner and operator of Pilot Hill, estimates that the new energy coming onto the grid will prevent approximately 328,000 metric tons of new greenhouse gas emissions per year.
I’m excited to see renewable energy from Pilot Hill coming on line. Power purchase agreements like this one ensure that our nearby data center will have a reliable source of renewable energy for years to come. We know that our data centers have a substantial energy footprint, so working to power them directly through local renewable energy projects is an important strategy to mitigate our impact on the environment.
We are strong supporters of green power, and our operations have been carbon neutral since 2012. But as we grow, and demand increases at a rapid pace for cloud services like Office 365 and Azure, we know we must work with others to rapidly develop new renewable energy options across the globe. To that end, we are engaged with industry groups including the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, utility partners and energy companies to make renewable energy more affordable and accessible.
Today is a big day for the Chicago area and our data center. We’re continuing to look for more opportunities to work with utilities and energy providers to bring new renewable energy projects on the grid, for not only our benefit, but also for a cleaner energy future.
Pilot Hill Wind Project in Illinois generating 175 MW. (Photo: Business Wire)