Preserving the Environment

How A Popular Computer Software Company is Making Itself Greener

July 28, 2014
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How A Popular Computer Software Company is Making Itself Greener
Microsoft is making a commitment to wind power. Getty Images
Microsoft is the latest company to supply its energy needs from a planet-friendly source.

We all know that Chicago has been known as the Windy City for some time. But now, one well-known computer software company is using the phrase to their advantage.

Microsoft recently announced in their blog that the company is taking action to reduce their carbon emissions by purchasing wind power from a new Illinois wind farm. Representatives from the company say that the The Pilot Hill Wind Project — a 175 megawatt (MW) wind facility located 60 miles from Chicago — will align with Microsoft’s future goals.

“The Pilot Hill Wind Project is important to Microsoft because it helps solidify our commitment to taking significant action to shape our energy future by developing clean, low-cost sources to meet our energy needs,” Brian Janous, director of energy strategy for Microsoft said in a statement. “Microsoft is focused on transforming the energy supply chain for cloud services from the power plant to the chip.”

According to The Chicago Tribune, the wind farm is currently under construction, but when completed in 2015, it will operate on the same electric grid that powers Microsoft’s datacenter in the Chicago area. It’s expected to generate enough electricity to power 70,000 Illinois homes.

EDF Renewable Energy, a U.S. subsidiary of French utility Electricite de France SA, owns 96 percent of the wind farm, which will be powered through a 20-year power purchase agreement between the company and Microsoft, according to EcoWatch.

This is Microsoft’s largest wind project to date but it isn’t its first. This past November, the company announced that it would buy power from a 110 megawatt wind farm in Texas.

And Microsoft isn’t the only company taking on eco-friendly initiatives. According to The Chicago Tribune, Facebook has also announced that it will use energy from a wind farm to power its new Iowa data center. And the furniture store IKEA is also building a wind farm in Vermilion County, located south of Chicago, to power its stores.

Ryan Pfaff, the executive vice president for EDF Renewable Energy, says that corporations who seek to reduce their carbon footprint are not only making the right choices for the environment but also for their businesses.

“It is encouraging to see leading corporations investing in the U.S. wind sector based not only on their desire to positively impact the environment, but also because it simply makes good business sense,” he says.

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