Microsoft signs new wind energy deal for Netherlands data centres

Microsoft signs new wind energy deal for Netherlands data centres
Agreement represents another step in transition to fossil-free power

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Microsoft has signed its second wind energy deal in the Netherlands with electricity producer Vattenfall.

Microsoft will purchase 100% of the wind energy generated from a new wind farm that will be built close to its local data center operations in the Netherlands, which support the delivery of cloud services to clients in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The wind farm will be constructed and operated by Vattenfall’s Dutch subsidiary Nuon, in the Wieringermeer Polder, near Amsterdam. Construction will begin in 2018 and the wind farm is scheduled to be operational in 2019.

This deal follows a number of similar agreements between Microsoft and wind energy firms, including a partnership with General Electric in Ireland and two wind farms in Wyoming, US.

“We are very glad and proud to be able to support Microsoft’s transition towards using fossil-free energy in their datacentre operations,” said Magnus Hall, president and CEO of Vattenfall. “This deal is completely in line with our strategy to help all of our customers to power their lives in ever smarter ways and free from fossil fuel within one generation.”

“Investing in local clean energy to power our local datacentre is a win-win for our business and the Netherlands,” said Brian Janous, general manager of energy at Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to bringing new renewable energy sources online to power our datacentres. By focusing on local projects, we’re able to create new economic opportunities, reduce carbon emissions and make progress on our global commitment to increase the amount of clean energy used to power the Microsoft cloud.”

This project builds on the existing partnership between Vattenfall and Microsoft. Vattenfall depends on Microsoft Azure to digitally transform its business operations, including renewable energy operations. Vattenfall is implementing advanced analytics powered by Azure with many new use cases, including new analytics for Vattenfall Wind.

“There’s a virtuous circle in greening the cloud enabled by this kind of deal,” said Janous. “Our powerful cloud tools help companies operate more effectively and efficiently. In the case of Vattenfall and other energy companies, this strengthens their business and creates new opportunities – and that means new opportunities for Microsoft to partner with them to buy new, clean energy to power our cloud, which then powers our customers’ cloud services.”

Nuon plans to expand the project to include 100 windmills, which will allow the production of approximately 1.3 billion kWh of renewable electricity.

“We power climate-smarter living and help data centres use locally produced renewable energy,” said Nuon CEO Peter Smink. “This is not only an important investment in Dutch renewable energy, but also a new step in the greening of IT in the Netherlands.”

“Once completed, the wind project will bring Microsoft’s total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 800 megawatts,” said Christian Belady, general manager, Microsoft cloud infrastructure and operations, Microsoft. “With these wind projects, we’re making considerable progress against the corporate clean energy commitments we set for ourselves in 2016.”

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