Microsoft to Utilize Wind Power as Data Center Power Alternative

In the push to go green and improve the energy consumption of data centers, companies are increasingly turning to alternative sources as means to power their facilities and boost data center sustainability.

Microsoft announced that it recently entered into an agreement with a Texas wind farm to power its San Antonio data center. The company announced it will purchase 110 MW of wind energy from a farm just outside of Fort Worth, Texas.

Construction on the Keechi Wind Farm project will begin in 2014, and is expected to begin providing power flow by June 2015. The farm will contain 55 wind turbines and will be owned and operated by energy developer RES Americas. Microsoft is entering into a 20-year contract as part of the power purchase agreement.

However, mySanAntonio stated that Microsoft will receive the power from the wind farm through CPS Energy, the local city-owned utility, due to the fact that the area’s electricity market has not been deregulated.

“They have to buy their energy from us within our certified area because we’re not opted into competition,” CPS spokeswoman Lisa Lewis told the news source.

Lewis said that in addition to utilizing the wind farm as a data center power alternative, Microsoft is also a key participant in CPS’s demand response program. The company has agreed to decrease energy use at its Westover Hills data center when the utility calls for energy conservation.

In order to pay for the wind farm resources, Microsoft stated that the company will utilize funding gained from an internal carbon emission fee program. Through the initiative, Microsoft charges departments for each ton of carbon emissions produced and applies the money to pay for greener technologies. The company estimated funding from the program could reach $10 million by the end of the first year.

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