With simply seven years left to attain its 100% renewable power targets, Microsoft mentioned it could add as a lot as 2.5 gigawatts of solar energy to its operations underneath a partnership with South Korea’s Hanwha Qcells.
Microsoft has a large power footprint with greater than 200 workplaces and 60 cloud areas; many of those amenities devour tens of thousands and thousands of watts of energy each hour because the racks of servers churn by way of petabytes of information.
It isn’t unusual for a cloud area to have 50MW or 60MW of capability. And with hotter, increased wattage CPUs and GPUs starting to hit the market, energy consumption in lots of of those amenities will little doubt enhance, as cloud suppliers, like Microsoft, transition to increased rack densities.
Below the settlement introduced in the present day, Microsoft mentioned it could work with Qcells to engineer, procure, and assemble solar energy installations utilizing energy buy agreements. PPAs are a mechanism for corporations and establishments to fund renewable or clear power manufacturing inside a area. Below these PPAs, prospects agree to purchase the facility generated by these amenities or installations at a set value over the course of a decade or two.
Microsoft has used PPAs extensively because it has labored to finish its reliance on fossil fuels and different nonrenewable power sources. Nonetheless, Microsoft’s technique for offsetting its carbon footprint has advanced over the previous few years. In 2012, the Home windows titan mentioned it bought sufficient renewable power credit (REC) to offset the greenhouse fuel emissions generated by its amenities.
However Redmond later moved away from RECs in favor of PPAs. In keeping with Microsoft, PPAs are preferable as a result of RECs cannot reliably assure the renewable power is generated on the identical grid as the place it is consumed.
As of final November, the software program large claims it has signed PPAs for greater than 10 gigawatts of renewable power capability together with 900MW of capability for amenities in Eire.
Whereas Microsoft’s plan to finish its reliance on non-renewable power is commendable, it is value declaring solely a fraction of the mega-corp’s greenhouse fuel emissions are attributable to both scope 1 or scope 2 sources. Scope 1 being emissions instantly ensuing from a company’s operations, and scope 2 being emissions an organization not directly causes by having power produced for it.
In different phrases, solely a fraction of its emissions are instantly generated by Microsoft amenities and automobiles, or are generated by the utilities that present energy to them.
In keeping with the company’s newest sustainability report [PDF], the overwhelming majority of Microsoft’s emissions — 13.7 million metric tons of CO2 as of 2021 — are attributable to emissions from the acquisition or sale of products and companies, the transportation of these companies, and the usage of these merchandise over their lifetimes.
Whereas Microsoft says its major emissions fell 16.9 % in 2021, the enterprise’s total emissions really elevated virtually 23 %. In keeping with Redmond, this enhance was pushed by the expansion of its cloud companies enterprise and a development in gross sales. So, it is secure to say the Home windows goliath has a protracted approach to go to attain its objective of going carbon impartial by 2030. ®