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Microsoft Bought 10 Nuclear Power Plants' Worth of Energy

Microsoft Corp. and Brookfield Asset Management’s green energy arm signed the biggest corporate clean-energy purchase agreement ever announced, as the technology giant ramps up its investment in artificial intelligence.

Brookfield Renewable Partners will provide more than 10.5 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity in the US and Europe starting in 2026, according to a statement Wednesday. That’s comparable to about 10 nuclear power plants and reflects the turbocharged demand for electricity from data centers and artificial intelligence. 

Technology companies are actively seeking more clean energy to achieve their climate goals, particularly as overall energy demand continues to grow.

BloombergNEF analyst Kyle Harrison commented that this is definitely the biggest single announcement concerning a corporate clean-power purchasing agreement. He further stated that this firmly positions Microsoft as the second-largest corporate buyer of clean energy via power purchase agreements, topped only by Amazon.

Estimating the price tag for 10.5 gigawatts of new capacity is a complex task as development costs fluctuate greatly based on energy type and location. However, if all of this projected development was devoted to U.S solar farms, the total cost would exceed $11.5 billion, according to BloombergNEF estimates. Creating the equivalent capacity in U.S wind power would cost nearly $17 billion.

Brookfield Renewable Partners shares saw a surge of up to 8.5% in New York, the largest increase since the middle of November. Shares of Microsoft rose by up to 1.6%.

US power consumption, which has seen scant growth over the previous twenty years, is predicted to accelerate rapidly due to the demand from new data centers required for AI development and operation, as well as new factories and electric vehicles. Exelon Corp., a power generation company, anticipated a 900% surge in electricity demand from prospective data centers in the Chicago area just last month.

Such an intense prediction poses a challenge for tech companies in securing more power supplies while simultaneously diminishing emissions. By 2030, Microsoft aims to equalize its electricity usage with purchases of zero-carbon energy sources.

Microsoft is channeling billions into enhancing its AI capabilities and data center infrastructure needed to support them, as the company perceives the technology as crucial in attracting customers to its cloud computing services.

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1 Comment

  1. This is a huge step forward for clean energy! Microsoft’s investment will play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change.

    May 23, 2024 @ 4:56 am | Reply

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