Microsoft Corp. signed up to buy electricity from an offshore wind farm project in the Netherlands, the latest in a number of deals that have seen power-hungry companies turn their attention to the giant arrays dotting Europe's coastline.
The company said May 23 that it would purchase 90 MW from the 731.5-MW Borssele III/IV project being developed by utility Eneco Groep NV to power its data centers in the Netherlands for 15 years starting in 2022. Brian Janous, Microsoft's general manager for energy and sustainability, said the agreement is the company's fourteenth renewable energy deal, bringing its contracted green power portfolio to over 1.5 GW.
Microsoft, along with other technology companies such as Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc., has helped fuel a growing trend toward corporate renewable power purchasing that started in the U.S. and is now taking off across Europe.
Due to their size, offshore wind farms can usually support multiple off-take agreements.
Source: Associated Press
Corporate consumers have bought close to 5 GW of onshore wind power in Europe over the past five years, and lately, developers have also started striking the first deals for much larger projects offshore. That includes an agreement between Swedish utility Vattenfall AB and two companies in Denmark in 2018 and another signed by offshore wind giant Ørsted A/S in the U.K. in February.
Tech companies in particular "are facing the challenge to reduce their carbon footprints, mostly due to the vast energy consumption of their data centers," Eneco Chief Customer Officer Hans Peters said in a statement, adding that the Microsoft deal would enable Eneco "to continue to invest in large-scale renewable energy projects."
The Dutch utility has already signed several corporate power purchase agreements, or PPAs, for its offshore arrays, said company spokesman Arie Spruit, including similar deals for the Borssele project with network operator Stedin Holding NV, multinational Koninklijke DSM NV and airport owner Royal Schiphol Group NV.