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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)

Go deeper

Updated Jul 14, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the future of alternative energy

On Wednesday, July 14 at 12:30pm ET, Axios energy reporter Ben Geman unpacked alternative energy innovations and the impacts they'll make this year and beyond, featuring Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and American Clean Power Association CEO Heather Zichal.

Sen. Ed Markey unpacked his priorities with climate policy in the Senate, addressing clean energy, the current state of climate change, and a potential bipartisan deal to address these issues.

  • On his current top priorities regarding clean energy: “Number one is that we need a plan which dramatically reduces greenhouse gases across our country. Secondly, we have to have a plan which creates millions of new clean energy union jobs in our country. And thirdly, we have to make sure that we create jobs, but do so with environmental justice.”
  • On climate policy must-haves: “My perspective is that we have to do a bipartisan deal and the reconciliation bill at the same time. We have to be guaranteed that this time we put in place the policies that are necessary in order to once again make the United States the leader on all of these issues. The fires, the floods, the high temperatures all across our country make it very clear that we have a planet that is running a fever and there are no emergency rooms for planets. We have to act with the preventative care that we know we can put on President Biden's desk within the next couple of months.”

Heather Zichal dove into the American Clean Power Association’s ambitions as climate policy debates continue on Capitol Hill. She focused on the pandemic’s effect on clean power initiatives and zero carbon options in the coming years.

  • On the potential of offshore wind: “We believe we have a huge opportunity with the existing pipeline of projects now that the administration is moving on those pending applications. In addition to all the clean power the offshore wind industry can deploy, we're also going to be creating a whole series of new jobs and investment opportunities...We shouldn't be behind the EU. We shouldn't be behind China in terms of deploying offshore when we want to. We want to be the leader.”
  • On infrastructure talks coming to a head on Capitol Hill: “We're incredibly excited, this is truly a once in a generation opportunity to get more policies in place to support the deployment of clean energy. It's really exciting to see the holistic approach that Congress and the administration are taking...The fact that we've got Democrats and Republicans working together around transmission is really very important.”

Axios CEO & Co-founder Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with GE Senior VP and CEO of GE Renewable Energy Jérôme Pécresse where they discussed promising renewable energy technology.

  • On the future of offshore wind in the US: “I think of offshore wind as one of the two big things ahead of the US energy system in the next five to 10 years. Offshore wind is a sector that now in the world is getting global. It is already very significant in Europe. In the US there has for some years been very large untapped potential along the Eastern Seaboard. There is the potential to get a lot of projects before 2026, another 10 gigawatts before the end of the decade, and probably close to a hundred gigawatt when you get to 2050...There is a very large potential for job creation.”

Thank you General Electric for sponsoring this event.

Climate solutions could cause their own problems

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

World leaders are pondering unprecedented moves to combat global warming by speeding up the transition to clean tech — but they're also learning more about the potential downsides of those changes.

Why it matters: The changes will be needed to avoid the most dire climate scenarios. But there are potential environmental, human rights, and geopolitical risks to shifting how we get around, the way the electric grid operates, and how everything from cement is made to buildings are constructed.

Updated 3 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

⛳️: Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID

📺: The Olympic events to watch today

🏊: Athlete spotlight — When to watch swimming star Katie Ledecky

🥋: Iranian defector defeats Iranian in taekwondo

🤖: The robot Olympics

🚨: Heat wave brings scorching temperatures to Tokyo Olympics

🎤: Meet the new faces of NBC's Olympics coverage

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage