We are fans of wind energy - our office and in-house ICT gear are 100% powered by wind-generated electricity purchased form our local utility. We are seeing more wind-powered ICT emerge around the world - the latest is the news that Microsoft has purchased the entire outputs of two wind farms.
SustainableBusiness.com wrote in November 2013, "Microsoft signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with RES Americas to buy all the energy from the Keechi Wind Project - 110 megawatts. Located about 70 miles north of Ft. Worth, the wind farm will send energy to the same electric grid that powers Microsoft's data center in San Antonio. Construction on Keechi begins early next year and will deliver energy starting in 2015."
Now, the publication reports that Microsoft signed in July 2014 "...a 20-year power purchase agreement to buy 175 megawatts (MW) of wind energy - the entire output - of Pilot Hill Wind Project in Illinois. The wind farm is 60 miles from Chicago and will supply Microsoft's data center there through the grid."
Apple had announced that "…our data center in Newark [CA-USA] is being powered by 100 percent renewable energy. We hit this milestone in January 2013, when we began serving the data center with energy sourced primarily from wind power. We’re procuring this energy directly from the wholesale market through California’s Direct Access program."
Green House Data (WY-USA), serving commercial clients, says it "…utilizes 40% less energy than its traditional data center competitors — all while being powered 100% through renewable wind energy." On a more massive scale, Google in 2010 signed 20-year Power Purchase Agreements totaling over 200 MW of wind generation to power data centers in Iowa and Oklahoma. In 2012, Google announced its first direct wind purchase for a data center: an additional 48MW of locally-generated power for its Oklahoma data center.
Apple aftermarket supplier Other World Computing (OWC) was an early adopter, creating in 2009 a 100% on-site wind-power campus, including its internet operations data center. Capacity of 500 KW allows OWC to resell power to the local utility. Like many such installations, the data center is still connected to the grid and has on-site backup.
Wind energy is not limited to conventional data centers. ICT-intensive media facilities are also looking to wind: KNTV (CA-USA) purchases wind-generated electricity while Sky Studios (UK) is installing an on-site turbine.
The telecommunications industry is also embracing wind. Mobile operators are using wind and solar to replace diesel in powering remote base stations. Canada's Green Star Network incorporates wind-powered nodes.
We'll update this post as more ICT becomes wind-powered.
Images courtesy Sky, Microsoft