California: San Jose: Microsoft to use a biofuel-powered microgrid for backup

Jun 16, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Microsoft has announced that it will be using renewable natural gas to fuel its backup energy at its San Jose data center, which is currently under construction. This move aligns with the company’s target of being carbon negative by 2030, and the project will also provide power locally with emissions 80 percent to 96 percent lower than using diesel generators.

The giant will use Enchanted Rock to build the microgrid, and it is planned to be used for an Azure cloud data center which is being constructed on 64.5 acres of land, which Microsoft acquired back in 2017.  Californian Democrat Senator Ben Hueso expressed his support for the microgrid, and outlined that the climate crisis and environmental degradation hit “underserved communities first and hardest.” He added: “These communities suffer through poor air quality, intolerable heat waves, and punishing droughts. We must take immediate action to reverse the climate crisis and address local environmental impacts. I am hopeful that one day all data centers will replace their backup power systems with carbon-negative, clean renewable natural gas. Today’s announcement will set a precedent I believe all of California’s roughly 240 data centers should follow.”

“Microsoft’s decision to pursue a renewable microgrid marks another milestone in the industry as businesses continue to move away from conventional, less carbon-friendly methods,” said Thomas McAndrew, CEO of Enchanted Rock. “We expect this project will demonstrate that large-scale, reliable, and cost-effective back-up generation with net-zero carbon can become the new standard.”

Brian Janous, general manager – DC energy & sustainability at Microsoft, commented: “This project helps Microsoft take a step towards our goal of eliminating dependence on petroleum-based diesel, while increasing the resilience of our data center and providing a much-needed capacity resource to the local grid.”

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