Microsoft, Amazon turn to wind energy to power cloud data centers

Dive Brief:

  • Microsoft announced Monday two new agreements to purchase wind energy, bringing the company’s total investment in wind energy projects in the U.S. to more than 500 megawatts, according to an announcement.

  • Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services announced Amazon Wind Farm US Central 2, a new 189 megawatt wind farm in Hardin County, Ohio, at the end of October. AWS’ new farm will generate 530,000 megawatt hours of wind energy annually starting in December 2017.

  • The two initiatives demonstrate cloud providers’ growing need for sustainable sources of energy for their power-hungry data centers.  

Dive Insight:

Cloud computing is driving the need for more energy-hogging data centers. Energy provider Dominion Virginia Power recently said while demand for energy from almost all other sources in its coverage area stayed flat last year, demand from data centers grew 9%.

In response, cloud providers are increasingly turning to renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power, and sustainable data centers are therefore a growing concern for tech companies. In November 2014, AWS shared its long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for the global AWS infrastructure footprint.

Microsoft is also pushing for more renewable energy sources. Referring to the new agreement, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said "these agreements represent progress toward our goal of improving the energy mix at our data centers."  

Other companies are working to increase energy efficiency in products. In October, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced it is working to increase the energy performance of its products by 30 times over its 2015 baseline by 2025. 

Source: CIO DIVE

Author: Justine Brown

Published: Nov. 15, 2016

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