The journey to net zero cannot be achieved without the decarbonisation of the electricity grid and the development of zero carbon energy sources such as wind and solar energy. That’s why it’s so critical that Government, industry and the energy sector work together to help accelerate the shift to renewable energy.
During her visit to Ireland this week for the Digital Ireland Conference hosted by Government, our Corporate Vice President, Cloud Operations and Innovation, Noelle Walsh, was joined by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD to announce our new renewable energy contracts, which will see Microsoft contribute close to 30% of Ireland’s corporate power purchase agreement target by 2030.
To make this possible Microsoft has entered into multi-year Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (CPPAs) with Statkraft, Energia Group, and Power Capital Renewable Energy, related to the development of more than 900 megawatts of onshore wind and solar energy projects across Ireland.
The new power purchase agreements will help support efforts to add additional clean energy capacity to the electricity grid. The Government’s Climate Action Plan includes a target of 15% of electricity demand to be delivered from renewable energy CPPAs by 2030. This equates to approximately 6 terawatt hours of additional electricity generation.
Microsoft’s procurement will contribute 28% of that target before the end of the decade, helping to contribute to the acceleration of the country’s journey to a net-zero future. In line with our company global sustainability goal, we also announced this week our plans to cover 100% of our data centre electricity load by 2025 with renewable energy.
Whilst in Dublin to officially announce our renewable energy contracts, Noelle Walsh said: “At Microsoft, we’re committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030, working with Governments globally to accelerate the journey to a net-zero future. That’s why I’m delighted to announce today that Microsoft has signed 900MW of onshore wind and solar renewable energy power purchase agreements, which will enable Microsoft to achieve our 2025 sustainability goals and to contribute close to 30% of Ireland’s corporate power purchase target by 2030.
“With these agreements, we support new renewable energy infrastructure in Ireland. We’re 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.”
This announcement builds on our efforts to make our data centres more sustainable and foster new innovations to support the growth of renewables on the energy grid here in Ireland.
In July this year, we outlined our plans to use our uninterruptable power supply (UPS) batteries within our data centres in Dublin for real-time interaction with Ireland’s power grid. On days when wind or solar power production is fluctuating, Microsoft’s backup batteries can be used to help maintain a steady flow of energy to power customers. That means fossil-fuel burning powerplants will be needed less often to maintain steady power, cutting emissions and fuel costs.
Today’s announcement builds on this and reinforces our commitment at Microsoft to advancing sustainability through collaboration and innovation. As we continue to support the growing demand for Cloud across public and private sectors here in Ireland, Microsoft is committed to achieving our own sustainability goals and partnering with all stakeholders to help Ireland on its grid decarbonisation journey together with unlocking the opportunities of a digital economy and society.