Microsoft powers up with wind energy

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Microsoft Corp. has signed a deal to power its Chicago data center with wind energy.

The tech giant announced Tuesday a 20-year contract to buy power from a Pilot Hill Wind Project under construction about 60 miles southwest of Chicago, on the Kankakee-Iroquois county line. The wind farm, formerly known as K4 Wind Farm, was bought by EDF Renewable Energy, the U.S. unit of a French utility company. The wind farm is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2015.

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“We know that we still have work to do, and we will continue to pursue energy efficiency and clean energy projects, from smarter buildings to more efficient datacenters,” Microsoft chief environmental strategist Rob Bernard writes in a blog post. “The Pilot Hill Wind Project is another major step to continue our drive to reduce our environmental footprint and to be carbon neutral.”

Microsoft will buy up to an estimated 675,000 megawatt-hours from Pilot Hill Wind Project each year, enough electricity to power about 70,000 homes.

The Pilot Hill contract is Microsoft’s second wind-energy purchase. Last November, the company contracted with Keechi Wind Project in Texas.

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