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Microsoft invests in renewable energy to power data centres in Ireland

Written by Thu 9 May 2024

Microsoft has entered into several Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (CPPAs) to support wind and solar energy projects in Ireland.

These projects will contribute more than 900MW of renewable energy to support the country’s efforts to promote sustainable practices.

The Irish Government adopted a Climate Action Plan that includes a target of 15% (6TW) of total electricity demand that will be met by renewable energy CPPAs by 2030. Microsoft CPPAs will contribute 28% of renewable agreements required to reach this goal.

Corporate Vice President of Cloud Operations and Innovation at Microsoft, Noelle Walsh, stressed the importance of partnerships between business and government to advance sustainability goals. Walsh said ‘Microsoft is committed to becoming carbon-negative by 2030, working with governments globally to accelerate the journey to a net-zero future’.

“With these agreements, we support new renewable energy infrastructure in Ireland. We are proud to be partnering with leading energy providers to bring this additional renewable energy on stream and help industry and government and the broader energy sector to achieve its climate action ambitions,” said Walsh.

The CPPAs announced included agreements with Statkraft, Energia Group, and Power Capital Renewable Energy. These partnerships are aligned with Microsoft’s recently-announced goal of having 100% of data centre energy consumption matched by zero-carbon energy purchases by 2030.

Data centre power consumption has long been an industry concern. Even more attention is being paid to it, as the increasing adoption of AI and quantum computing drives energy demand in data centres even higher.

National Grid CEO John Pettigrew recently noted, “Future growth in foundational technologies like AI and quantum computing will mean larger scale, energy-intensive computing infrastructure.”

Pettigrew added the UK is at a pivotal moment in energy demand due to constraints on the existing grid. He said this is a ‘moment in time that requires innovative thinking and bold actions to create a transmission network for tomorrow’s future’.

Last week, Microsoft, Brookfield Asset Management, and Brookfield Renewable signed a five-year global deal to generate over 10.5GW of new renewable energy capacity. This move aims to meet the rising demand for cloud computing fueled by the surge in artificial intelligence (AI), prompting tech giants like Microsoft to seek more electricity capacity.

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Written by Thu 9 May 2024

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