Microsoft is entering into a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with GE to purchase 100 percent of the wind energy from its new, 37-megawatt Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland.
The agreement will help support the demand for Microsoft Cloud services from Ireland. As part of the deal, Microsoft also signed an agreement with Dublin-based energy trading company ElectroRoute; it will provide energy trading services to Microsoft.
In addition to producing energy, the project will produce data on energy storage. Each turbine will have an integrated battery; Microsoft and GE will test how these batteries can be used to capture and store excess energy, and then provide it back to the grid as needed. This provides more predictable power to an increasingly green Irish grid, by smoothing out peaks and valleys in wind production.
This PPA builds on Microsoft's strategic partnership with GE, announced last year. The wind farm will integrate GE's Digital Wind Farm technology, which makes renewable energy outputs even more reliable. Digital models, built on the Predix platform, ensure energy generation supplied can meet demand forecasted and reduce intermittency concerns.
Microsoft is also acquiring an Irish energy supply license from GE. The supply license will benefit both Microsoft and the Irish power grid, as it allows the company the flexibility to easily grow and invest in renewable energy in Ireland over time. ElectroRoute will act as trading service provider for the supply company.
Once operational, the new wind project will bring Microsoft's total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 600 megawatts. In 2016, Microsoft set clean energy commitments to power its datacenters and bring new renewable energy sources online in the communities in which it operates.