Microsoft has signed a new 24x7 hourly matching agreement to match the energy used by a new data center with renewable power.

Powerex Corp. this week announced it has signed a long-term agreement with Microsoft to deliver carbon-free energy to the technology company’s new data center in Washington state.

Microsoft Cloud
– Sebastian Moss

The energy firm will match Microsoft’s hourly data center demand with direct deliveries of carbon-free hydro, solar, and wind power on a 24x7, year-round basis via Powerex’s new 24x7 Clean Load Service.

Powerex Corp. is the exclusive marketer of BC Hydro’s surplus capabilities. The company said it and Microsoft will work together to meet the data center’s electricity needs and help to switch on ng new renewable capacity contracted to Microsoft. The first of these new renewable resources will be a 200MW wind project in the Pacific Northwest, with an expected online date of December 2024.

“We are excited to collaborate with Microsoft, a global technology company that shares our interest in environmental leadership,” said Tom Bechard, president and CEO of Powerex. “Together, we were able to find new solutions that go well beyond what has been achieved to date and reach a significant milestone towards a carbon-free future."

Bechard added: “As the output from Microsoft’s contracted renewable resource portfolio grows, Powerex’s 24x7 Clean Load Service will increasingly offer a battery-like service. During hours that Microsoft’s contracted renewable resources produce more electricity than the data center can use, we will take the surplus renewable power, allowing hydro generation to be reduced and water to be conserved for later use. This will enable clean deliveries back to the data center in later hours, when Microsoft’s contracted renewable resources produce less electricity than the data center needs.”

Renewable energy is intermittent in nature, making it a challenge for operators of data centers – which have constant energy requirements – to ensure all of a facility’s energy comes from renewable sources.

The likes of Iron Mountain, Google, Bulk, and others have begun signing 24x7 deals to ensure their ESG claims aren’t greenwashing. Microsoft has previously signed a 24x7 deal with Vattenfall in Sweden.