Microsoft invests in Texas wind power project

The computer giant plans to fund the development of renewable energy through an internal "carbon tax"

Topics: earth techling, Microsoft, Texas, renewable energy, Wind power, funding, Investment, keechi, , , , ,

Microsoft invests in Texas wind power project (Credit: Wikimedia)

How important can it be when giant companies that consume vast amounts of energy commit to buying renewables?

Well, the 110-megawatt Keechi wind power project in Texas, which Microsoft on Monday said it would get behind through a power purchase agreement, “would not have happened otherwise,” according to Susan Reilly, president and CEO of project developer RES Americas.


image from Microsoft infographic

image from Microsoft infographic

This is an interesting project for a variety of reasons. First, for the Microsofties it moves them beyond greening their energy profile through the purchase of renewable energy credits, according to company chief environmental strategist Rob Bernard, “to actually investing directly in green energy.”

(Directly investing? Hmm. OK, Reilly from RES Americas did say that by purchasing 100 percent of the wind power from Keechi Microsoft was essentially making the project happen. But it should be noted that when Google has “invested directly” in a project, it actually takes an equity stake.)

Microsoft is “funding” the purchase of the wind power – as it did the RECs – through a device it calls internal carbon fee. What this means is, when a division of the company generates carbon emissions, it’s charged an offset fee. With this device, Microsoft set a goal of being carbon neutral across its “direct operations” – data centers, software development labs, air travel, office buildings – by this past July.

You Might Also Like

So Microsoft’s data center in San Antonio could offset some of its carbon emissions to the extent its internal carbon fee is used to pay for Keechi’s GHG benefits.

(Of course the power isn’t being directly delivered to Microsoft; it goes on the grid, but in the process displaces other, less-clean sources.)

Another notable thing about this project is where exactly in Texas it will be built. Or, more to the point, where it won’t be built. Texas is the leader in wind power in the United States mostly by sourcing a vast, breezy resource out in the western part of the state. Big infrastructure investment is helping bring that power long distances to the cities. But an RES executive told the AP that with Keechi planned for just 70 miles northwest of Fort Worth, “it’s close to the lode of Dallas-Fort Worth and so the price is very attractive.”

Plant construction will get under way before the end of the year (thus qualifying for the production tax credit) and it’s expected to be fully operational by 2015.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Sonic

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.

    KFC

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.

    Interscope

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...