Google and Microsoft add more renewable energy for datacenters

wind farm energy
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Google and Microsoft have both invested in sizable renewable energy contracts to power their data centers.

According to The Register, Google has signed a 12-year 100MW corporate power purchase agreement with Scottish offshore wind development called "Moray West",  in Scotland’s relatively remote Moray Firth region.

The joint venture is owned by EDP Renewables and French firm Engie, and will see the search giant get 5 TWh of green power from the 882 MW offshore wind farm, starting in 2025, which will be used to power its Google Cloud UK region.

What about Microsoft?

Microsoft likewise signed its own power purchase agreement (PPAs) in Ireland that covers more than 900MW of new renewable electricity, making the announcement on its European Cloud Features Blog.

Some sources have indicated this will include a deal with Norwegian company Statkraft and the Irish firm Energia Group,  Power Capital Renewable Energy, which will see the tech behemoth get over 366MW of clean energy in the new deal.

Why are they investing?

Both firms have lofty sustainability goals to meet on the horizon. The type of hyperscale data centers which the two firms dominate, alongside Amazon Web Services (AWS), have a colossal environmental footprint. 

According to independent research from the IEA, data centers consume around 1% of all electricity consumed globally.

By 2025, Microsoft aims to shift to a 100% supply of renewable energy, and by 2030 Microsoft aims to have 100% of its electricity consumption matched by zero-carbon energy purchases.

Matt Brittin, president of Google EMEA, said his company targets "a goal of operating entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030" and that "in the UK, we’ll be running on at or near 90 percent carbon-free energy in 2025".

Google said that the latest agreement will mean that it's UK cloud region will join just six other regions - including Finland, Iowa, Montreal, Spain, and Toronto - that will operate at or near 90 percent carbon-free energy from 2025 onwards. 

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.