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.

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.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...