Microsoft the latest to "unplug" itself from traditional utility power


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: I've been on a mission for years now, urging utilities to realize they could be "hollowed out." That's when all the big-dollar, big-margin customers leave you (or are stolen by competitors), leaving the utility with just the low-dollar, low-margin remainders.


And I've often chronicled when prominent companies or individuals made a shift, from Larry Ellison to Google to Walmart, because they are trend-setters who will convince others to follow.


Now Microsoft has taken a small step in that direction by making a 20-year deal to buy wind power, as you will read below.


At first glance, this might not seem so damaging. Microsoft, after all, will still be getting that power via the grid. But underneath the surface, you'll see that the Redmond, WA-based company no longer thinks of its utility as its partner. It didn't turn to its local provider for guidance or help or partnership. Instead, it went out on its own.  The Associated Press quotes Brian Janous, Microsoft's director of energy strategy as saying "It fits into our overall desire to have more control over our energy supply."


More and more often, companies are starting to see organizations such as EnerNOC or Solar City or their campus microgrid provider as their energy partner. Or seeing themselves as needing to become as self-sufficient as possible. In either case, the utility gets relegated to the role of necessary evil. And that is not a great platform for future growth and prosperity. - By Jesse Berst


Microsoft Corp. has entered a 20-year deal to buy power from a new wind farm in Texas, the first time it has directly purchased electricity from a specific source. It has committed to buy 100% percent of the electricity generated from the soon-to-be-built Keechi Wind Farm Project.

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