In a deal with General Electric (GE), Microsoft has committed itself to buying all the power from the new Tullahennel windfarm, which is currently being built in County Kerry, Ireland.
The electricity will be used to power the company’s cloud computing service, with excess electricity being sold into the Irish power grid once Microsoft secures a supply licence.
As wind power makes more inroads into offshore locations and advances in areas such as scale and lubricants like Mobilith SHC 220, it is becoming an increasingly attractive option for multinational corporations looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Online firms like Microsoft have been leading this trend, because a typical data centre can consume as much power as a regional town. By buying electricity directly from GE, Microsoft can also reduce its draw on the Irish power grid. Facebook also recently announced that dedicated solar power facilities will power its new US data centre in Virginia.
With many tech firms attracted by Ireland’s low corporation tax and English-speaking workforce, Ireland now has one of Europe’s greatest concentrations of data centres. In the words of ESB Networks, which operates Ireland’s power grid, these data centres are causing “unprecedented load growth”.
Microsoft’s general manager of data centre strategy, Christian Belady, claims the Tullahennel wind farm will help to improve reliability and capacity in the Irish power grid. The company also claims the windfarm will use the first turbines with integrated batteries, which will help smooth out peaks and troughs in generation as the wind speed changes.