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Microsoft Greens the Internet With Its Largest Wind Energy Investment

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A new project from Microsoft will help the company make its Web footprint greener and help power Bing, XBox Live and other services with wind energy.

It also represents the company's largest wind energy purchase.

The company took to its blog Monday morning to reveal plans for the Pilot Hill Wind Project—a 175 megawatt (MW) wind facility about 60 miles from Chicago, IL. Construction is under way with the farm scheduled to provide green power in 2015.

Microsoft's Pilot Hill Wind Project will be delivering clean energy by next year. 
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 “The Pilot Hill Wind Project is important to Microsoft because it helps solidify our commitment to taking significant action to shape our energy future by developing clean, low-cost sources to meet our energy needs,” Brian Janous, director of energy strategy for Microsoft, said in a statement. “Microsoft is focused on transforming the energy supply chain for cloud services from the power plant to the chip.

"Long-term commitments like Pilot Hill help ensure a cleaner grid to supply energy to our datacenters.”

EDF Renewables has a 96 percent stake in the project as a result of a purchase from Orion Energy Group LLC and Vision Energy LLC. The project will be powered through a 20-year power purchase agreement.

At 60 percent larger than the wind purchase Microsoft made last year in Texas, Pilot Hill will generate enough energy to power 70,000 Illinois homes. The energy will power Microsoft's Chicago data center.

Microsoft has purchased more than 3 billion kilowatt-hours of green power in the past fiscal year. That amount is equivalent to 100 percent of the company's electricity use around the globe.

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