Google and Apple are tech giants aggressively seeking clean energy for their data centers. On Tuesday Microsoft announced that it has signed a deal to buy wind power from a wind farm outside of Chicago for a 20-year term for Microsoft data center in Chicago is going green. The wind farm will put energy into the same electric grid that their large data center in Chicago draws from.
It’s Microsoft’s largest clean power deal (not including hydro) to date, and the wind farm — called the Pilot Wind Project now owned by EDF Renewable Energy — will be 175 MW when finished and supplying power in 2015. Microsoft said they’ll buy 675,000 MWh of wind power from the farm, which is enough to power 70,000 Illinois homes. The farm will use wind turbines from both GE and Vestas.
Microsoft last year signed a similar agreement to buy power from a wind farm in Texas, which supplies power to Microsoft’s San Antonio datacenter. Microsoft has also invested in fuel cells for data centers, and uses hydro for its data center in Washington.
Microsoft’s clean power moves are a bit different than Google’s and Apple’s. Microsoft is largely focused around monitoring and reducing Microsoft’s overall carbon emissions and becoming carbon neutral, and it’s partly using a carbon fee (a fund created by Microsoft to match its carbon emissions) to pay for the wind power in Illinois.