The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD today joined Microsoft as it announced new renewable energy contracts, which will see the company contribute close to 30% of Ireland’s corporate power purchase agreement target by 2030.
Microsoft entered into multi-year Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (CPPAs) with Statkraft, Energia Group, and Power Capital Renewable Energy, related to the development of more than 900 megawatts of onshore wind and solar energy projects across Ireland.
The new power purchase agreements will help support efforts to add additional clean energy capacity to the electricity grid. The Government’s Climate Action Plan includes a target of 15% of electricity demand to be delivered from renewable energy CPPAs by 2030. This equates to approximately 6 terawatt hours of additional electricity generation.
Microsoft’s procurement will contribute 28% of that target before the end of the decade. The company is seeking to make a material contribution to accelerating the country’s journey to a net-zero future.
In line with the company’s global sustainability goal, Microsoft forecasts that it will cover 100% of its data centre electricity load by 2025 with renewable energy.
Commenting on the announcement, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD, said: “Data is an enabler of our digital world facilitating everything from remote working and online learning to e-commerce, e-health and online banking. As we position Ireland as a global digital leader and achieve our climate change objectives, Government is determined to progress both the digitalisation of our economy and its decarbonisation. Today’s announcement by Microsoft is very welcome news and will help to ensure that the company’s data centres play a more positive role in bringing new green power to the electricity grid and driving Ireland’s renewable energy transition.”
Noelle Walsh, Corporate Vice President, Cloud Operations and Innovation, Microsoft said: “At Microsoft, we’re committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030, working with Governments globally to accelerate the journey to a net-zero future. That’s why I’m delighted to announce today that Microsoft has signed 900MW of onshore wind and solar renewable energy power purchase agreements, which will enable Microsoft to achieve our 2025 sustainability goals and to contribute close to 30% of Ireland’s corporate power purchase target by 2030. With these agreements, we support new renewable energy infrastructure in Ireland. We’re proud to be partnering with leading energy providers to bring this additional renewable energy on stream and help industry and Government and the broader energy sector to achieve its climate action ambitions.
“This announcement builds on our efforts to make our data centres more sustainable and foster new innovations to support the growth of renewables on the energy grid here in Ireland. As we continue to support the growing demand for Cloud across public and private sectors, Microsoft is committed to partnering with all stakeholders to help Ireland on its grid decarbonisation journey while unlocking the opportunities of a digital economy and society.”
Kevin O’Donovan, Managing Director, Statkraft Ireland said: “As Europe’s largest renewable energy company, Statkraft is already a key player in the Irish market. Given our rapidly growing wind and solar portfolio, as well as our market trading business, we are well-placed to support companies like Microsoft in achieving their renewable energy ambitions.
“Today’s announcement shows that our continued rollout of new wind and solar projects is not just having a significant impact on Ireland’s renewable targets, but helping to deliver affordable, green energy to homes, communities – and businesses – amid a fossil fuel-driven energy crisis.”
Ian Thom, CEO, Energia Group said: “As an Irish energy company with a proven history of delivering new renewable energy projects and for providing innovative solutions for our customers, today’s announcement with Microsoft highlights the benefit of collaboration in bringing about collective benefit for society, enterprise, and the economy. Energia Group has set clear targets to promote Ireland’s energy transition and to facilitate the achievement of the Government’s 2030 targets that will be realised through a pipeline of almost 3,000 MW of new renewable projects across a range of technologies, including offshore wind, onshore wind and solar. This agreement represents another step towards the achievement of these targets.”
Commenting on the announcement Power Capital Renewable Energy Co CEO Peter Duff said, “As an indigenous Irish company we are delighted to be partnering with Microsoft on such a landmark agreement. Solar is now a proven force in Ireland and has become increasingly viable for businesses and homes. We see Solar PV having a significant positive impact on the targets in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan. We very much look forward to playing an increasing role in the further decarbonisation of the grid here in Ireland.”
Today’s announcement reinforces Microsoft’s commitment to advancing sustainability through collaboration and innovation. In July this year, the company outlined its plans to use its uninterruptable power supply (UPS) batteries within its data centres in Dublin for real-time interaction with Ireland’s power grid. On days when wind or solar power production is fluctuating, Microsoft’s backup batteries can be used to help maintain a steady flow of energy to power customers. That means fossil-fuel burning powerplants will be needed less often to maintain steady power, cutting emissions and fuel costs.