Microsoft has made an agreement with GE to purchase all its electricity from a wind farm the latter is developing in southwest Ireland.

The US technology group said it would also acquire an Irish energy supply licence as part of the deal, allowing it to sell surplus electricity into the country’s power grid. Microsoft has agreed to buy all the electricity produced for the next 15 years by the 37 MW Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry.
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The project will take Microsoft’s direct global procurement of renewable energy worldwide to almost 600 MW, enough to power more than 1 million homes.

Other blue chip companies are doing likewise in a bid to take advantage of emission reduction as the cost of renewable energy continues to fall.

Facebook last week announced plans for a new US data centre in Virginia that would be supplied by dedicated solar power facilities built by US utility Dominion Energy. So far this year, companies have announced purchase agreements for more than 2 GW of new renewable power capacity in the US and Mexico alone.

Technology companies such as Microsoft, Facebook and Google have been at the forefront of the renewables drive because of rising energy demand from the data centres they rely on to provide their services. Ireland has one of the biggest concentrations of data centres in Europe.

Each turbine at the Tullahennel facility will be integrated with a battery to store any excess power until it is needed. Microsoft said this was the first example of batteries integrated with wind turbines in Europe.