Microsoft Seals Deal with Puget Sound Energy to Buy Carbon-Neutral Power at Wholesale Prices

Puget Sound Energy that will enable the software giant to buy its own power directly from the open market at wholesale prices. The accord is subject to the approval of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission in the coming weeks, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported on April 13.

The pact would give Microsoft the go-ahead to shift 80 percent of its energy use at its headquarters campus to renewable energy sources purchased wholesale from other providers.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Microsoft still would pay PSE to deliver the wholesale electricity, from whichever source it comes. In addition, Microsoft’s other offices and data centers would not be privy to the same deal.

The agreement allows Microsoft to only purchase carbon-neutral and renewable energy resources – which is just what the tech company wants. Indeed, according to the PSBJ report, Microsoft has said that having the flexibility to buy its energy from other sources would increases the company’s ability to use electricity produced by wind and solar farms and other sources of carbon-free power.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft would pay $23.6 million to ensure that other PSE ratepayers would not be negatively impacted by the deal, the local business journal said.

Coming clean

Microsoft pointed out that this is only the company’s latest gesture showing that it intends to limit the use of fossil fuels at all of its corporate facilities.

In October 2015, Microsoft and a dozen other companies –including Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Goldman Sachs, IBM, IKEA, McDonald’s Nike, Procter & Gamble, and Sony – signed President Barack Obama’s American Business Act on Climate, agreeing to invest billions of dollars to reduce their carbon footprints.

At that time, Microsoft specifically pledged to:

  • Maintain carbon neutral operations for its datacenters, offices, labs, manufacturing facilities, and business air travel;
  • Purchase 100 percent renewable energy for the operations of its datacenters, offices, labs, and manufacturing facilities; and
  • Offset 100 percent of emissions from its business air travel through supporting carbon offset projects that also drive social benefits in emerging nations

The Evergreen State also has made it clear that it is intent on going green. In a continuing effort to support the deployment of renewables, Governor Jay Inslee (D) has proposed making Washington the first state to impose a carbon tax, but the proposal so far has met with a lukewarm reception in the state legislature

Bellevue-based PSE currently provides electricity service to more than 1.1 million electric customers in eight Washington counties.

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