Microsoft, UTSA Sign Data Center Distributed Energy Agreement

utsaThe University of Texas at San Antonio and Microsoft have announced a three-year agreement to research and develop sustainable technologies aimed at making data centers more energy efficient.

The multi-disciplinary research will focus on expanding business opportunities for new distributed energy technology that reduces energy consumption and emissions, improve reliability and contribute to a sustainable energy future.

Microsoft is investing $250 million in a 256,000-sq-foot data center next door to its existing 427,000-sq-foot facility in San Antonio that opened in 2009. To have more control over the needed energy supply for the data center, the tech giant is working to address not only how electricity is used and distributed inside data centers but also how consumption of electricity impacts the broader grid.

Working with UTSA on energy solutions will enable the company to expand its commitment to optimizing for efficiency inside the facility, as well as its global data center portfolio, Microsoft says.

In addition to the research agreement, Microsoft made a $1 million gift to UTSA to support the university’s research and technology programs.

In November, Microsoft signed its first long-term power purchase agreement for wind energy. The 20-year agreement with RES Americas will be funded in part by proceeds from Microsoft’s carbon fee. Per the agreement, 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 the tech giant’s San Antonio data center.

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