Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Microsoft Signs Biggest Wind-Power Buy for Data Center

  • Buying 237 megawatts, almost doubling total wind capacity
  • Data center’s backup generators will help power local grid

Microsoft Corp. committed to its largest wind-power purchase to date with a deal to buy 237 megawatts of capacity from projects in Wyoming and Kansas.

Allianz Risk Transfer AG’s Bloom Wind Project in Kansas and Black Hills Corp.’s Happy Jack and Silver Sage wind farms in Wyoming will provide all of the power needed by a data center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, under two long-term contracts cover, according a Microsoft blog post Monday. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Under a new arrangement with Black Hills’s utility in Wyoming, backup generators at the data center will be available as a secondary resource to provide power to the local grid when needed. That means the utility can avoid building a new power plant.

“This is a small step toward a future where other customer-sited resources may help make the grid more efficient, reliable and capable of integrating intermittent energy sources like wind and solar,” Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in the post.

Microsoft’s data centers will get about 44 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and hydropower sources this year and 50 percent in two years, Smith said. The company already has deals for 20 megawatts of solar power and 285 megawatts of wind, according to the blog post.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects just 50 companies will need to sign another 17.4 gigawatts of wind and solar power purchase agreements in the U.S. by 2025 just to meet their publicly announced renewable energy commitments. They could add more than 22 gigawatts over the next 10 years, BNEF said in a Oct. 25 report.

(Corrects forecast demand in last paragraph of story published Nov. 14.)
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