Jul 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Microsoft pledges to run global data centers on zero-carbon energy by 2030

Illustration of the Microsoft logo.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Microsoft this week unveiled a new goal: powering all its global data centers and offices with zero-carbon energy around the clock by 2030.

Why it matters: Data centers suck up lots of power, and the company, in a new blog post, acknowledges the limits of its current efforts.

How it works: Top officials note that they're already a major corporate supporter of renewable power.

  • The company says it has purchased enough renewables to match the consumption of its operations since 2014.
  • But that's not the same as running off of clean power on a 24/7 basis, because the company operates on grids supplied by coal and gas.

What's new: The target for 2030 is that "we will match our purchasing of zero carbon energy with our consumption on an hourly basis," write chief environmental officer Lucas Joppa and Noelle Walsh, the corporate VP for cloud operations and innovation.

  • "And we will do so on the same grid systems into which we are already connected," they write in the post.

Catch up fast: It's similar to an effort underway at Google in recent years to run its data centers on clean power 24/7.

Go deeper: Microsoft is changing the way it buys renewable energy (The Verge)

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