Microsoft, GE Announce New Wind Farm in Ireland

A 37-megawatt wind farm will be developed in County Kerry, Ireland. The facility will consist of turbines with integrated batteries, marking the first deployment of battery integration into wind turbines to store energy in Europe.

Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland
Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland

Microsoft Corp. announced a new wind agreement in Ireland. The company signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with GE to acquire the entirety of the wind energy from its new, 37-megawatt Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland.

The energy from the facility will be used to uphold the growing demand for Microsoft Cloud services from Ireland. Furthermore, as part of the deal, the company also signed an agreement with Dublin-based energy trading company ElectroRoute to provide energy trading services to Microsoft.

The project will also generate valuable data on energy storage; each turbine will have an integrated battery and Microsoft and GE will test the batteries to determine how they can be used to capture and store excess energy, and then provide it back to the grid as needed. Moreover, the wind farm will integrate GE’s Digital Wind Farm technology, which increases the reliability of renewable energy outputs. Digital models are built on the Predix platform and will ensure the energy generation supplied can meet demand forecasted and reduce intermittency concerns. The development will mark the first deployment of battery integration into wind turbines to store energy in Europe.

“Microsoft is proud to be deepening our long history of investment and partnership in Ireland with this agreement,” Christian Belady, general manager of data center strategy at Microsoft, said in a prepared statement. “Our commitment will help bring new, clean energy to the Irish grid, and contains innovative elements that have the potential to grow the capacity, reliability and capability of the grid. This will make it easier to incorporate new clean power sources like wind energy, and that is good for the environment, for Ireland and for our company.”

Microsoft will also acquire an Irish energy supply license from GE, which will prove beneficial for both Microsoft and the Irish power grid as it will allow the company the flexibility to easily grow and invest in renewable energy in Ireland over time. ElectroRoute will act as the trading service provider for the supply company.

“ElectroRoute is delighted to work with Microsoft and GE to structure and manage the energy trading activities for the supply company,” added Ronan Doherty, chief executive at ElectroRoute. “The wind energy sector is particularly vibrant in Ireland at the moment, and we are seeing the emergence of an array of new structures and procurement approaches, which I feel will persist and grow into the future.”

“This partnership with Microsoft expands GE’s considerable presence and investment in Ireland, where we already employ over 1,500 people and in particular in the renewable energy sector. Wind is now one of the most competitive sources of electricity on the market today, and we’re excited about the capability to use data generated from these wind turbines, using the Predix platform, to maximize the output and value of this project,” said Andres Isaza, CCO of GE Renewable Energy.

Once completed, the wind farm will increase Microsoft’s global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 600 megawatts.

Image courtesy of GE Renewable Energy