Microsoft: Our Azure cloud will devour all of this new wind farm's output

Microsoft is making headway on its plan to become 50 percent renewable-powered by 2018.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Video: Microsoft tapping wind power to ease data center burden on Ireland

Microsoft has established its second wind-power deal in Europe to support the expansion of Azure and its cloud services.

Microsoft has agreed to buy 100 percent of the energy from a 180MW wind farm that is being built adjacent to its data center on the outskirts of Amsterdam. The wind farm is being constructed and operated by Nuon, a Dutch subsidiary of Swedish energy giant Vattenfall.

The proximity of the wind farm to Microsoft's Netherlands data center makes this wind farm deal unique as it will supply power direct to the facility.

Microsoft told ZDNet that the wind farm's output will meet all of its Netherlands datacenter's estimated power demand.

The Dutch wind farm in the Wieringermeer polder is expected to produce energy in 2019. It will eventually consist of 100 windmills and will produce about 1.3 billion kWh of electricity, which is enough to power 370,000 homes. This additional capacity is expected to be available from 2020. Microsoft hasn't said for how long it has guaranteed to buy the total output of the wind farm.

"Matching production and consumption of renewable energy so closely unlocks great transmission efficiencies for our operations," said Brian Janous, general manager of energy at Microsoft.

"It also helps the communities in which we operate, by removing as much of our load as possible from the local grid and by supporting new construction and operations jobs associated with the projects

Microsoft last month established a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with GE to purchase 100 percent of the output from a 37MW GE wind farm in the south or Ireland. The wind farm is located about 300km, or 186 miles, from its Dublin data center, which powers the North Europe Azure region.

Dublin is facing an energy crunch due in part to demands from major data centers operated by Microsoft and Google. Apple and Amazon are also planning to open new data centers there, too.

Microsoft says the new wind projects in Ireland and the Netherlands will bring its "total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 800MW".

The company intends to have more than half the electricity its data centers use come from renewables by the end of 2018.

In December Google said in expected 2017 would be the year its data centers and offices around the globe become totally powered by renewables.

Google has been setting up similar PPAs with new wind farms in the US and Europe. A 160MW wind farm in Norway was scheduled to come online in September. Its output is sold on the Nord Pool power exchange. Google's total capacity of renewable energy power purchases in Europe alone is 500MW.


The 180MW Wieringermeer wind farm is sited close to Microsoft's data center on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

Image: Microsoft

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