Microsoft is in the process of purchasing 175 megawatts of wind energy from the Pilot Hill Wind Project in Illinois, located just an hour south of Chicago. The purchase is a part of a 20-year agreement, the company said in a blog post.
Like Apple and Google, Microsoft wants to show its commitment to green energy. Two years ago the company promised to go carbon neutral, and it is steadily working towards that goal. In fact, this deal with Pilot Hill was partially financed by Microsoft’s internal carbon fee, one of the company’s green initiatives. Microsoft assesses how much energy each of its divisions uses, from electricity and air travel for example, and holds them accountable for their carbon footprint through a fee.
The energy purchase will be used to help power the software giant’s datacenter in Chicago. As it notes in the post, “The total output of the project is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 70,000 homes in Illinois.” This is a sizable amount of energy to purchase and Microsoft’s biggest investment in wind to date. It follows on the heels of similar investments from Google, which closed a $200 million investment in a Texas wind farm in January. The deal brought Google’s renewable energy tally to an amazing 2.2 gigawatts. Though Microsoft has made serious strides towards its carbon neutral goal, it’s not surprising the company feels the need to step up its game.
The Pilot Hill Wind Project is mostly owned by EDF Renewable Energy, a French energy firm.