In Ireland, Smarter Wind Turbines for a Cleaner Energy Future

Oct 9, 2017   |   Christian Belady, General Manager of Microsoft Cloud Infrastructure and Operations, & Brian Janous, General Manager of Energy at Microsoft

Today, Microsoft is helping to make the Emerald Isle a bit greener. We are pleased to announce a new wind energy project, in partnership with GE Renewable Energy that will soon provide 37 megawatts of new, clean energy to Ireland. There is a growing demand for Microsoft Cloud services delivered from Ireland, and that requires us to take steps to make sure we have all the necessary resources in place now, and into the future, to meet that need. This deal will add more capacity to the Irish grid and help ensure that our local datacenters are using more renewable energy to power their operations as we grow.

This is important to us, but our vision is far more ambitious than just powering our own operations with clean energy. Microsoft’s goal is to reimagine how we source energy in a more efficient way to meet the needs of a 21st century digital economy, powered by renewable energy. That’s why this deal also includes a pilot project that adds battery-based energy storage to each wind turbine on the Tullahennel farm in County Kerry – the first direct deployment of battery-turbine integration in Europe.

Technologies that can store energy, like the batteries we’ll be testing at the wind farm, are essential to building that grid of the future. These batteries will capture energy from the turbines when they are over-performing – on a blustery autumn day, for example – and store it. Then, when the wind isn’t blowing, or the grid could use more energy to power consumers’ needs, that stored energy can be released onto the grid via our new partners at ElectroRoute, an energy trading and services company headquartered in Dublin. Effective energy storage solutions will enable more renewables to be added to the grid, while still delivering reliable energy to customers.

The integration of R&D with providing new capacity that benefits both local consumers and Microsoft is what makes this deal different than other power purchase agreements. It represents the holistic approach Microsoft takes to advancing the availability and adoption of renewable energy in every market in which we operate. It builds on a long history of innovation by our team at Microsoft, who have pushed the boundaries with new energy storage technologies such as batteries as well as biogas and fuel cells. And it is aligned to how we set our corporate renewable energy targets last year.

We have goals to increase the percentage of renewable energy used by Microsoft year over year. But we also went beyond that, and set goals to add clean energy to the grid in the markets where our datacenters consume energy and to advance R&D that will create more clean energy at scale. The Tullahennel wind farm, thanks to collaboration with GE Renewable Energy, will help us make progress against our goals.

We’re proud not just to be adding more wind turbines to Ireland, but also to be part of an effort to build smarter ones. You can learn more about the announcement here and more about our view on clean energy here.

Tags: , , , ,