Microsoft boosts green energy portfolio with General Electric agreement

The partnership between Microsoft and GE will see the two companies work together to support wind energy and battery storage technology in Ireland

  • By Barclay Ballard | Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

On October 9, Microsoft announced the signing of a 15-year power purchase agreement with General Electric (GE).

As a result of the partnership, Microsoft has committed to purchasing 100 percent of the power produced by the 37-megawatt Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland.

Aside from energy production, the deal will also see Microsoft and GE work together to improve battery technology in the country.

Each turbine will be fitted with an integrated battery that will analyse data related to energy storage. Tests will then identify the best way for these batteries to store excess energy and feed it back to the Irish grid during times of high demand.

The utilisation of energy storage technology could help eliminate the peaks and troughs that are associated with renewable energy sources

Microsoft confirmed that the utilisation of energy storage technology could help eliminate the peaks and troughs that are associated with renewable energy sources.

The Washington-based firm also announced that the partnership with GE marks the first time batteries have been used in a European wind farm.

“Microsoft is proud to be deepening our long history of investment and partnership in Ireland with this agreement,” said Christian Belady, General Manager of Data Centre 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.”

Despite Microsoft’s insistence that the deal is motivated by environmental concerns, the use of green energy also makes financial sense for the company.

Alongside the falling price of renewable energy, legislation issued by governments all over the world has incentivised technology firms to find green energy sources for their data centres.

Back in July, for example, Google pledged to purchase all of the energy produced by a solar farm in the Netherlands for the next 10 years. Microsoft’s own commitment to clean energy sources, meanwhile, now totals almost 600 megawatts worldwide.