Microsoft, Accenture tag team to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint

The companies aim to drive change in the utility and energy sector.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Microsoft and Accenture have announced a partnership to drive down the United Kingdom's carbon footprint. 

Revealed on Wednesday, the companies said their collaboration will help the UK make the transition to "net-zero" carbon emissions. 

Through and in conjunction with Microsoft and Accenture's joint venture, Avanade -- a London-based business solutions group -- the firms aim to work with energy and utility players to overhaul existing processes.

In particular, Avanade will "help utility and energy companies transform the energy system and lower the cost of decarbonizing the supply and demand of electricity in the UK."

Modernization through cloud, open data, artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins, and what Microsoft and Accenture call a "digital workforce" are the key areas both firms will promote in the UK's energy sector. 

The companies have a set of specific goals in mind: helping utility and energy firms reduce the cost of renewable energy generation by up to 25%; improving electricity balancing and fluctuation management; and reducing the cost of offshore systems monitoring -- potentially through the use of drones and AI. 

Furthermore, Microsoft and Accenture aim to reduce the expense associated with meeting electricity supply and demand by up to 20% through network design and operation overhauls. 

The UK is one of many parties that have signed up to the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change that aims to lower carbon emissions in order to combat global warming. The country is aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Under the Trump administration, the US withdrew from the accord, but President Joe Biden returned the country to the agreement in January, within hours of taking office.  
"A massive transformation is underway in the energy sector fueled by rising expectations of both consumers and employees and a growing focus on sustainability," commented Andy Gillett, general manager of Avanade UK and Ireland. "At Avanade, we're seeing significant demand for cloud-based solutions, which are helping deliver results at huge scale, while reducing cost. Innovative solutions that put data at the heart of the business improve speed to market and benefit the environment, delight our clients, inspire our people and help us continue to make a genuine impact."

Microsoft has committed to becoming carbon-negative by 2030. Google, too, hopes to operate purely on sustainable energy sources by the same year. 

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