Microsoft Adds Smart Energy Use to Business Strategy

  • Posted on: 12 March 2014
  • By: Patrick Oliphant

Last year saw Microsoft sending a clear signal about their energy use, the company signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for wind energy in Texas.  They have gone as far as defining their commitment to smarter energy use in their Global Public Policy Agenda.  Going forward every business division within Microsoft will have to account for their energy use and their impact on the environment, even their use of air transport will be measured.

Microsoft said they are using the principles of being lean, green and accountable be a part of their business management strategy.  The goal is to make divisions within the business financially responsible for the cost of their carbon emissions.  They have setup a charge back model on energy use across the business.

“The carbon price and charge back model is designed to provide a economic incentive for business groups across Microsoft to reduce carbon emissions through efficiency measures and increased use of renewable energy”.

From as far back as 2004 Microsoft started substituting its energy provided by coal and natural gas with renewable energy. Its Silicon Valley campus installed solar power systems, which provide 15 percent of its energy needs.  Their San Antonio’s Texas datacentre uses recycled wastewater for cooling and hydropower as the main energy source for Quency’s Washington facility; A Wyoming data centre uses energy generated from biogas to supply its 200KW energy need. This recent wind project in Keechi will produce 110MW from it 55 wind turbines; production is expected to start in 2015.

For the last five years they have been pursuing energy efficiency initiatives, through building energy efficient data centres, using virtualization technology and building servers that fit their purpose. “We’ve also found that other practices, like standardizing the platform and taking a holistic approach to the total cost of ownership have helped our data centers teams manage Microsoft’s footprint more effectively.

Microsoft has been recognised as the second largest purchaser of green power in the U.S., they now purchase up to 2.3 billion kWh.