As Microsoft continues to experience increasing customer global
demand for our cloud and online services like Bing, MSN, Office
365, Xbox Live, SkyDrive, Skype, and the Windows
Azure platform, we are also thoughtfully planning for
sustainably growing what is already one of the world's largest
As we think about this growth and its relation to our energy
supply, we're working to address not only how electricity is used
and distributed inside of our datacenters, but also how our
consumption of electricity impacts the broader grid.
To that end, today we are excited to announce our first long-term renewable energy
purchase commitment. We have agreed to purchase the entire power
output of the 110MW Keechi Wind project in Jack County, Texas.
Keechi Wind is a wholly owned subsidiary of RES Americas
Developments Inc. This project is consistent with our
objective to reduce the cost and environmental impact of supplying
power to our datacenters.
Here are some of the key reasons we chose to invest in
the Keechi project:
- Green power: Consistent with our commitment to
carbon neutrality, we are continually searching for ways to
integrate more renewable power into our portfolio, both to lower
our emissions and reduce our long-term cost for power.
- Wind is a smart choice: The economics of wind
energy have been improving over the last several years with higher
turbine efficiency and lower development costs, such that many wind
projects are delivering power to the grid at parity with fossil
- Grid-connected projects align with datacenter scale and
density: To achieve our corporate carbon neutrality
objective, we are focused on finding projects that can efficiently
scale to match the size of our operations. Projects like Keechi are
ideal because they can be sited in locations that are most
efficient in terms of wind production and integration into the
- This project complements our investments in other
areas: Beyond grid-scale projects, we are also pursuing
opportunities for distributed generation (behind-the-meter) at the
site level. We discussed in a recent blog
post the marvel of the modern electric grid and how the
centralization of power generation was the spark to drive massive
innovation across multiple industries. Today, there is a movement
towards the adoption of more distributed generation (rooftop solar,
fuel cells, etc.), but the opportunity of distributed generation
does not negate the benefit afforded by the broader electric grid.
In fact, in most applications, the value of distributed generation
is a result of a connection to the broader grid. As we continue to
grow our datacenter footprint, we will further innovate at the
distributed level (e.g. the Data Plant) while also including large
utility-scale projects in our portfolio to the extent that both can
drive down costs and improve efficiency at the site and grid
Our path for delivering power to supply Microsoft's cloud
infrastructure is focused both on how we optimize for efficiency
inside our footprint, but also how we integrate and invest in
driving greater sustainability and scalable efficiencies in the
broader energy supply chain. We have three overarching goals that
drive us in this effort.
- Distribute hyper-efficient generation solutions to the
datacenter that radically reduce the amount of energy required
to deliver cloud services.
- Deliver to the grid low-cost and efficient energy through
participation in utility-scale generation projects.
- Developthe next generation of energy technologies that will
make future distributed and grid-connected projects radically more
We look forward to continuing to provide updates on our progress
on all three fronts. For more details on today's announcement,
this blog post from Microsoft's Chief Environmental Strategist,
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