Microsoft has inked a 15-year deal to use 100 per cent of the power generated by GE’s 37MW Tullehennel onshore wind farm in Ireland, in order to support growing demand for the software giant’s cloud services.
Building on the strategic partnership between Microsoft and General Electric (GE) announced last year, the two firm’s yesterday said they had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the County Kerry wind farm project.
In addition to producing energy, each of the wind farm’s turbines is to have an integrated battery installed, enabling Microsoft and GE to test how these batteries can be used to capture and store excess energy, and then provide it back to the grid as needed.
The two companies said the project would help to encourage wider uptake of intermittent renewable power sources on the grid and would be “the first deployment of battery integration into wind turbines to store energy in Europe”.
Christian Belady, general manager of Microsoft’s datacenter strategy, said the project would help make it easier to incorporate renewables onto Ireland’s grid. “Our commitment will help bring new, clean energy to the Irish grid, and contains innovative elements that have the potential to grow the capacity, reliability and capability of the grid,” he explained.
Once operational, the new wind project will bring Microsoft’s total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 600 megawatts, the company said.
Microsoft has also agreed a separate deal with Dublin-based company ElectroRoute to provide energy trading services to the firm in Ireland, and is additionally seeking to acquire an Irish energy supply license from GE to give the software giant “flexibility to easily grow and invest in renewable energy in Ireland over time”.
GE said its Tullehennel wind farm would also integrate its digital wind farm technology and Predix digital data analysis platform to ensure supplied energy generation can meet forecasted demand and reduce intermittency concerns.
Andres Isaza, chief commercial officer of GE Renewable Energy, said the partnership with Microsoft would help expand GE’s business in Ireland, where it employs 1,500 people.
“Wind is now one of the most competitive sources of electricity on the market today, and we’re excited about the capability to use data generated from these wind turbines, using the Predix platform, to maximize the output and value of this project,” he said.