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Microsoft hits latest data centre rewewables target a year ahead of schedule

Written by Tue 16 Apr 2019

After hitting 60 percent renewables target ahead of schedule, Microsoft says it’s on track to hit 70 percent by 2023

Microsoft says that 60 percent of the energy used in its data centres will be drawn from renewable sources by the end of 2019, one year ahead of its own targets.

In 2016, Microsoft announced its ambition to improve energy efficiency and use of renewables in its data centres. In 2017, it hit its initial target of relying on renewable energy for half of all power consumed, also one year ahead of schedule.

The OS maker added that it’s aiming for 70 percent reliance on renewables by 2023, and that it intends to leverage IoT, blockchain and AI to monitor facility performance and improve sustainability in the data centre supply chain by reusing, reselling and recycling data centre parts, such as racks and servers.

Microsoft recently started the construction of 17 new buildings at its Washington HQ, totalling 2.5 million-square-feet of new infrastructure. As part of its sustainability goals, the buildings will use no fossil fuels and run entirely on carbon-free electricity like the rest of the campus.

“Combined with our smart building technology, Microsoft will be the first large corporate campus to reach zero-carbon and zero-waste goals,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Microsoft also announced that it is extending its carbon and energy strategy to encompass water replenishment, in order to reduce water consumption in water-stressed Azure regions.

Qatar, which ranks joint first in WRI’s most water-stressed countries, recently granted Microsoft permission to build an Azure data centre in the country.

Smith added that Microsoft is increasing the number of environmental data science sets — such as satellite and aerial imagery — hosted on Azure to further facilitate environmental research.

“More than 230 grantees are now using Azure and AI to create new models and discover new insights. But we have learned there’s still more we can do to accelerate this work,” Smith said.

The world’s largest technology companies, especially the public cloud providers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft, require vast amounts of energy to power their global infrastructure.

Google claimed to have achieved 100 percent renewables use in 2017, with Apple declaring a year later that its data centres and co-located facilities in 43 countries were equally reliant on clean energy. Facebook says it will join the club by the end of next year.

According to Greenpeace Amazon’s largest data centres are powered by only 12 percent renewable energy, and that is at 50 percent renewables use company-wide.

Last week Amazon announced its intention to buy renewable energy from new wind farms in Ireland, Sweden and the US to support its rapidly expanding infrastructure.

Written by Tue 16 Apr 2019


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