Microsoft now powers its Chicago data center with 100 percent wind power

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In 2014, Microsoft purchased a 175 megawatt (MW) wind facility outside of Chicago with the aim being for it to eventually power their Chicago-based data center. A year later, the Pilot Hill Wind Project is now active and promises to power Microsoft’s Chicago data center for at least 20 years and subsequentially save over 328,000 metric tons of new greenhouse gas emissions for each year the program is active.

Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Strategist, Rob Bernard explains the company’s motivation behind the switch, “I’m excited to see renewable energy from Pilot Hill coming on line,” he says in a post on the Microsoft Green Blog. “Power purchase agreements like this one ensure that our nearby data center will have a reliable source of renewable energy for years to come. We know that our data centers have a substantial energy footprint, so working to power them directly through local renewable energy projects is an important strategy to mitigate our impact on the environment.”

He goes on to reveal that even though the data center has been carbon neutral since 2012, “demand increases at a rapid pace for cloud services like Office 365 and Azure” which has motivated them to “work with others to rapidly develop new renewable energy options across the globe.”

Microsoft has long expressed a commitment to environmental sustainability and was recently awarded the Green Power Partner of the Year Award by EPA. The tech giant also assists other organisations in making a positive impact on the world and last month announced that it would be assisting at least 50 non-profit organizations in countries ranging from Australia, Japan, China, Kenya and France to Mexico, Germany, United Kingdom, India, and the United States.

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