Microsoft taps wind energy for data center support
Microsoft is in the business of technology, and that tech is not exclusive to software—the business has a hand directly in several sectors, and has helped to promote the growth and expansion of others indirectly. One of those indirect growth stories involves the wind power industry. Over the past two years, Microsoft has played a key role in the growth of wind power with its contracting of two major off-site wind projects to supply energy to Microsoft’s power-hungry and ever-growing data centers.
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Microsoft’s commitment to wind power has grown organically out of investment in the company’s own growth. As green energy publication Clean Technica reports, Microsoft’s recognition of the potential of its cloud-computing has driven the company’s data center team to look for more sustainable and reliable power sources:
The data center energy team recognized that as Microsoft developed its cloud-computing infrastructure, the construction of large data centers committed the company to purchasing large quantities of electricity to power these assets over their operating lifetimes. In fact, while building a data center can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, it can cost up twice that to power the building over its lifetime.
With Microsoft’s sustainability team leading a charge that led to an adoption of carbon neutral goals in 2012, the company has turned increasingly to wind power for the energy needed to run its data centers. Over the past two years, Microsoft has contracted 285 mW of renewable energy—enough to keep 125,000 homes in electricity—from powerful off-site wind farms.
According to Clean Technica, Microsoft was also able to close deals on these projects in record time due to a combination of factors: a dedicated team with energy industry experience assigned specifically to make these renewable energy contracts happen, the external assistance of knowledgeable partners outside the Microsoft team, and full support from Microsoft’s executive teams across the board from legal to accounting.
With its sheer size and reach, if any business has the power to make this energy growth happen it’s Microsoft. But even smaller businesses can take some important lessons away from this case study: renewable energy is ready to support industry, and with the right support and education throughout your company renewable energy can be supplied more swiftly than ever. What’s more, an upfront investment in renewable infrastructure can go a long way toward supporting your business with reduced costs and reliable energy in the future. Microsoft may be one of the first, but a more mainstream adoption could propel the renewable industry even further.
[SOURCE: Clean Technica]
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