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Microsoft, GE sign pact on new wind project in Ireland

10 October 2017

Microsoft is to buy all of the energy produced by a General Electric wind farm in Ireland, the companies have announced. The computing giant expects the deal to help support an expansion of its cloud computing services offerings in the country.

Microsoft has also signed an agreement with Dublin-based energy trading company ElectroRoute, which will provide energy trading services to Microsoft. GE and Microsoft tout that this will be the first deployment of battery storage for wind turbines in Europe.

This provides more predictable power to the grid by smoothing out peaks in wind production.

In addition, Microsoft acquired an Irish energy supply license from GE, allowing the company to sell surplus electricity into the National Grid, the Financial Times reported.

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"Microsoft is proud to be deepening our long history of investment and partnership in Ireland with this agreement", said Christian Belady, General Manager, Datacentre Strategy at Microsoft.

In an interview with Energy-Storage.News earlier this year, prolific U.S. clean energy investor Nancy Pfund of DBL Partners, a company which seeks to deliver positive social impacts coupled with healthy returns, pointed out that Microsoft has also been trialling the use of zinc bromide flow battery energy storage systems at its corporate headquarters.

This PPA builds on Microsoft's strategic partnership with GE, announced previous year.

In September, Redmond received something of a wakeup call when it was forced to scramble to install 16 gas-powered generators at a data center being built in Ireland.

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Wind is now "one of the most competitive sources of electricity on the market today", Isaza added.

Microsoft and GE began what the two parties called a "broad strategic partnership" in summer 2016, beginning with efforts to marry the Predix platform to Microsoft's Azure cloud technology. The Bill Gates-founded company has now reached 600MW of renewable energy projects procured worldwide and has invested in forestry and energy efficiency schemes in Ireland.

Irish energy provider EirGrid said in a report this year that growing energy demand in Ireland is "mainly" from new data centers that are already putting a heavy load on Dublin infrastructure. The new GE 37-megawatt wind farm is located in County Kerry, in Ireland's southwest corner. It also provides managed trading services to energy assets, giving them ready access to pan-European markets and now has over 700 megawatts of assets under management. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry.

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Microsoft, GE sign pact on new wind project in Ireland