Microsoft signed a PPA with the Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall to purchase all the electricity produced from a new 180-megawatt wind farm being built in the Netherlands, according to an announcement this week. The farm will be located in the Wieringermeer polder, near Amsterdam, next to Microsoft’s data center operations.
The 10-year deal, one of the largest wind PPAs in the Netherlands, is Vattenfall’s first with a data center outside Nordic countries. Nuon, part of Vattenfall, will be responsible for constructing and operating the wind farm. Eventually the company plans to expand the project to include 100 windmills, according to Microsoft. “That will allow the production of approximately 1.3 billion kilowatt hours of renewable electricity,” the announcement says.
The tech giant’s data center operations in the Netherlands are a regional hub for Microsoft Cloud service customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and beyond. Vattenfall and Microsoft already had a partnership prior to the PPA — the energy company uses Microsoft’s cloud-based tools for its business operations including the enterprise platform Azure for analytics.
Lately Microsoft has been on a roll with renewable energy. Last month the company signed a deal for 100% of the energy produced by GE’s new 37-megawatt wind farm in Ireland. Recently Microsoft opened a pilot for a data center in Seattle that uses integrated fuel cells and natural gas rather than power from the electrical grid. The company’s Cloud Infrastructure and Operations team hopes the fuel cells can one day work with renewable biogas instead.
The Wieringermeer site currently has 93 turbines that are set to be replaced with more powerful machines, Wind Power Monthly reported. “Combined with an adjacent extension the project’s additional capacity of 115 MW, Wieringermeer will have 100 turbines in total with a total capacity of 295 MW when completed,” reporter Craig Richard wrote. “Vattenfall will own 82 of these turbines, the nearby Energy Research Center of the Netherlands will own 17, and the remaining turbine will be reserved for local residents, the developer said.”
Construction on Vattenfall’s new wind farm is planned to start next year. The partners expect additional generation capacity to become available in 2020. Once the project is completed, it will likely be one of the largest wind farms in the Netherlands.