Microsoft Signs 20 Year Deal for Texas Wind Power
05 Nov, 2013
The skinny: Microsoft has committed to a 20-year power purchase agreement with RES Americas to buy 100 percent of the electricity generated from the soon-to-be-built Keechi Wind Farm Project. It’s Microsoft’s latest investment in renewable energy and is just one of several innovative projects and approaches the company has pursued in the past few years.
Microsoft shows green energy momentum with investment in Keechi Wind Farm
by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff
From the time you wake up in the morning until you rest your weary eyes at night, you do things that consume power.
BZZZZ. Turn off the alarm. Turn on the lights. Brew some coffee. Turn on the TV. Recharge your phone. Turn on the computer. Turn on the AC or heat. Surf the Internet. Heat some leftovers in the microwave. Watch more TV. Do laundry. Run the dishwasher. Or watch more TV. Turn off the lights — except for the one on the porch. ZZZZ.
All those things add up.
Luckily, if your appliances, coffeemakers and lights depend on the Texas power grid, there’s going to be 110 megawatts (MW) more clean, renewable energy flowing into that grid by the end of 2015, generated by 55 brand-new wind turbines that will make up the Keechi Wind Farm project. That’s enough to juice up 55,000 homes at peak production.
Microsoft has committed to a 20-year power purchase agreement with RES Americas to buy 100 percent of the electricity generated from the soon-to-be-built Keechi Wind Farm Project. It’s Microsoft’s latest investment in renewable energy and is just one of several innovative projects and approaches the company has pursued in the past few years.
“We have a long standing ambition to move in the direction of sourcing more clean energy as a company, so over the last few years we’ve increasingly purchased something called RECs – renewable energy credits (more than 2.3 billion kWh globally) – and so this is an opportunity to go to the next stage and invest directly in green energy,” says Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist. He sees Keechi as a “moment in our journey” that includes an increased focus and acceleration in the direction the sustainable energy strategy the company has pursued over the last several years.
With projects focusing on increasing energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon-offset projects funded in part by an internal carbon fee, Microsoft has become an example to others to be pro-active when it comes to clean energy use and investment.
“When influential companies such as Microsoft sign up to buy wind power, it sends a strong signal on the importance of taking meaningful action on sustainability,” says Susan Reilly, president and CEO of RES Americas, the energy developer behind the Keechi project, and chair-elect of the board of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “By signing a contract to buy power from the Keechi Wind project, Microsoft is making the financing, construction, and operation of this 110 megawatt project possible. To be clear: it would not have happened otherwise. The Texas electrical grid is like a pool, and Microsoft is adding clean, green wind power to that pool.”
It takes about one megawatt (MW) of energy to power 500 Texas homes on the same electric grid as Microsoft’s San Antonio datacenter. In an area 70 miles northwest of Ft. Worth, construction begins in December to build the Keechi Wind project. This power purchase agreement represents a sizable investment in the wind energy sector in Texas – which has a strong wind resource and has invested in building out its transmission infrastructure to improve integration of these resources into the broader grid. Texas has more installed wind capacity than any other U.S. state, with a total of 12.2 gigawatts of capacity. Wind energy is the source of 9.2 percent of all electricity generated in Texas.
“All of the electricity we consume is from the power grid, through local utilities, which includes a mix generation resources including hydro, natural gas and wind,” says Brian Janous, director of energy strategy at Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services. “This project gives us a stake in putting more renewable power in the grid. We’re not having this power delivered directly to us. We’re going to continue to consume power as we always have for our buildings and datacenters — but we’re affecting the mix of generation, adding 110 MW of green power that wouldn’t have been there otherwise and displacing carbon fuels. We’re driving change in the generation mix on the grid in Texas.”
Microsoft is driving change in many other ways, too.
Read the rest of the article.
Source: Microsoft News Center
Illustration by Salvatore Vuono at Free Digital Photos.net