Microsoft and Primus Power recently announced a pilot program to advance energy storage at Microsoft’s datacenters globally. The program will be carried out in collaboration with NRG Energy, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and battery technology providers including Primus Power. Microsoft’s global operations purchase approximately 3,500 GWh of electricity per year, 100% of which is met with renewable energy. This new initiative will test storage technologies that use batteries to act as grid resources to improve reliability, energy efficiency and usability of renewable energy.
The project is one component of Microsoft’s multi-faceted global environmental sustainability strategy. It aims to determine the best way to effectively store renewable energy at scale to ensure electricity is inexpensive and available for future use.
Microsoft’s initiative will test storage technologies that use batteries — which are currently installed at all of its datacenters — to act as grid resources to improve reliability, energy efficiency and usability of renewable energy. Multi-hour duration flow batteries, like those pioneered by Primus, are being evaluated for their ability to deliver uniform power for twenty years without fade or component replacement.
“Datacenters are the engine that drives the Microsoft Cloud, and we are committed to investing in innovation breakthroughs at our datacenters that can help improve energy efficiency,” said Robert Bernard, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Strategist. “By using high performance batteries we can improve both energy efficiency, as well as our ability to use variable energy sources like wind and solar power. In the future, with these types of innovation, the datacenter could effectively operate independently of grid capacity constraints.”