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Microsoft embarks on renewable-powered datacentre push in Sweden

Microsoft is doubling down on its efforts to have more of its datacentres powered by renewable energy, with commitment to make its facilities in Sweden the most sustainable yet

Microsoft is on course to build datacentres in two locations in Sweden, which it claims are on course to become among the most sustainably designed and operated server farms in its fleet.

The software giant is teaming up with Swedish electricity provider Vattenfall to power the proposed facilities, with 100% renewable energy, along with other initiatives aimed at reinforcing Microsoft’s position as a carbon-neutral company.

These include the creation of what the pair have termed a “new power infrastructure” that will be designed to provide a stable source of renewable power for the datacentres and surrounding areas in the future, which they hope will also help to reduce the sites’ carbon footprint in the years to come.

Andreas Regnell, senior vice-president for strategy at Vattenfall, said the project marks a continuation of its ongoing efforts to help its customers live fossil fuel-free within one generation.

“We will support Microsoft on the sourcing and supply of renewable energy for the future datacentres and help provide innovative solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of the datacentre,” he said.

“Vattenfall Distribution as the regional network owner will construct and build the distribution infrastructure required to connect the large-scale facilities. Over time, the new infrastructure will help further reduce the carbon footprint of the datacenters, while at the same time reinforce an already strong electricity grid in Gävle and Sandviken to the benefit of the people who live there.”

The pair have something of a track record where initiatives like this are concerned, having announced a sizeable wind energy deal in the Netherlands back in 2018, whereby Microsoft purchased 100% of the energy generated from a 180-megawatt wind farm sited next to its datacentres in the region.

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Its Swedish datacentres will be located north of Stockholm in Gävle and Sandviken, and will be a demonstrable show of Microsoft’s commitment to contributing to the creation of a low-carbon future, said Noelle Walsh, chief vice-president of cloud operations and innovation at Microsoft.

“We intend for our datacentres in Sweden to be among the most sustainably designed and operated in the world, with the ultimate ambition of achieving zero-carbon operations,” said Walsh. “The datacentre design we’re developing will further Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future.”

News of the partnership comes several months on from Microsoft going public with its plans to ramp up its renewable energy usage targets where its datacentres are concerned, with the confirmation that it is working towards powering more than 70% of its facilities with renewables by 2023.

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