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Microsoft buys 237MW of wind energy

The power-purchase agreements are the latest example of a US tech company powering its operations with renewable energy.

US tech giant Microsoft Corp. has signed two agreements expanding its use of renewable energy projects to power its operations.

It has purchased a total of 237MW from a project in Kansas and a project in Wyoming, bringing its total investment in wind energy in the US to more than 500MW. It has previously purchased energy from the 175MW Pilot Hill wind project in Illinois and the 110MW Keechi wind project in Texas.

“Microsoft is committed to building a responsible cloud, and these agreements represent progress toward our goal of improving the energy mix at our datacentres,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer.

One of its agreements made Microsoft the first buyer of a revenue swap mechanism developed by Allianz Risk Transfer. Microsoft agreed to purchase power from the 178MW Bloom Wind project in Kansas, which is contracted with Allianz to ensure long-term costs despite possible intermittent production.

The second deal is for Microsoft to purchase 59MW of renewable energy certificates from two projects owned by Black Hills Energy, the Happy Jack and Silver Sage wind projects in Wyoming. The projects are located close to Microsoft’s datacentre in Cheyenne and are expected to fully cover the company’s energy needs there.

Part of the agreement also allows customers to use Microsoft’s backup generators at its datacentre, eliminating the need for Black Hills to construct a new power plant it was considering.

“This collaboration provided them the opportunity to utilize signficiantly more renewable energy while still ensuring the reliability they’ve come to expect through our energy infrastructure and generation sources,” Black Hills chief executive David R. Emergy said.

In March, Microsoft signed an agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia and Dominion Energy to develop a 20MW solar project.