Microsoft signed its first long-term (20-year) power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind energy. The agreement with RES Americas will be funded in part by proceeds from Microsoft’s carbon fee.
Per the PPA, Microsoft will purchase all of the energy from Keechi Wind project, a new 110 MW wind facility to be constructed 70 miles northwest of Ft. Worth, Texas. The wind farm is on the same electric grid that powers Microsoft’s datacenter in San Antonio, according to a Microsoft blog posting.
Early next year, Keechi Wind will begin constructing the wind farm comprised of 55 Vestas wind turbines. The energy will feed into the local grid, from which Microsoft obtains the energy to power its San Antonio data center.
Microsoft is funding the PPA in part from its carbon fee – an incentive for its business groups to become carbon neutral. A fee is charged for the carbon associated with the use of electricity and business air travel. The funds collected are invested in additional energy efficiency projects and renewables.
This year, the Environmental Protection Agency recognized Microsoft as the second largest purchaser of green power in the US. The company currently purchases 2.3 billion kWh annually.
According to Microsoft’s blog, its datacenter in San Antonio also uses recycled waste water for cooling, and its Quincy, Wash., data center uses hydropower. In addition, the company is building a biogas-powered datacenter in Wyoming that will be independent of the grid.