Microsoft invests in renewable energy in Brazil

clean energy concept
Sheila Zabeu -

September 08, 2023

Microsoft Brasil has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with AES Brasil to supply renewable energy for a period of 15 years, starting in July 2024. The energy will be generated from the Cajuína Wind Complex, which is being developed in the state of Rio Grande do Norte and will start operating later this year.

According to Microsoft’s Brazilian subsidiary, the project involves 154 megawatts (MW) of installed wind power capacity, enough to generate energy corresponding to the consumption of around 250,000 homes and avoid the annual emission of 28,700 tons of greenhouse gases (GHG). It will involve investments of around R$1 billion.

For Tânia Cosentino, president of Microsoft in Brazil, the initiative is directly connected to the company’s global commitment to be carbon negative by 2030. “This action reinforces Microsoft’s commitment to accelerating sustainable practices and even higher levels of efficiency for our operations. It is estimated that, by 2025, our Microsoft Azure cloud will use 100% renewable energy,” she said.

“This long-term agreement with Microsoft Brasil is a milestone for AES Brasil. After all, this is a company with pioneering spirit and technological innovation as its main characteristics, combined with global standards that are a benchmark in sustainability. Microsoft has been seeking to decarbonize its energy matrix worldwide, and has AES Brasil as the ideal partner to support it on this journey here in Brazil,” says Rogério Jorge, CEO of AES Brasil.

According to the executive, the contract has particular characteristics in terms of ESG best practices. “Customers are the main drivers of innovations and improvements in the way clean energy is procured. In this context, Microsoft is at the forefront of sophistication and depth in the search for clean, competitive and reliable energy. The technical and commercial conditions of this operation allow Microsoft to simplify the management of the contract by replicating the best practices already applied in other countries. The partnership is in line with the transition to a low-carbon economy, a model that adapts to the needs and expectations of society while respecting the environment,” adds the CEO of AES Brasil.

The Cajuína Wind Complex is AES Brasil’s third project in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, located in the Sertão Central Cabugi region. It could reach a total installed capacity of more than 1.4 gigawatts (GW), of which 684 MW is already under construction. Construction began in 2022 and should be completed in the second half of 2023.

History between Microsoft and AES

This is the first contract in Brazil between AES and Microsoft, but the two companies already have agreements to supply renewable energy from solar panels to Microsoft data centers in Virginia and Califórnia, in the United States. “Virginia represents a significant milestone in our journey to have 100% renewable energy supply for all our operations by 2025, including our data centers, and adds to our commitment to be carbon negative as a company by 2030,” says Adrian Anderson, program manager, data center energy and sustainability at Microsoft.

In Chile, Microsoft and AES Andes have signed a 2022 agreement involving wind and solar energy sources to help Microsoft customers reduce their carbon footprint and accelerate their digitalization processes. According to Ricardo Falú, CEO of AES Andes, the contract is innovative, tailor-made and includes various technologies to meet Microsoft’s requirements. The energy supply will come from two projects: a solar plus battery project located in the Antofagasta region and a wind project in the Biobío area.

Among the big players, in addition to Microsoft, AES has PPAs with Google  and Amazon in the United States. With Amazon, there are two contracts, involving a combined 450 MW of solar energy and 225 MW of 4-hour battery energy storage. With these initiatives, Amazon wants to stay on track to power its global operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025 and zero net carbon emissions by 2040.

Amazon is the biggest buyer of renewable energy – in 2022, it purchased 10.9 gigawatts of clean energy, which would be enough to power the whole of Ecuador, according to Bloomberg NEF. That’s more than four times the amount bought by the second-placed company on the list, Meta. Google, Microsoft and Codelco, the Chilean state-owned copper mining company, completed the top five.