EDF Renewable Energy and Microsoft Break Ground on Large-Scale Wind Project
San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of utility EDF, and Microsoft broke ground on a 175 MW wind project 60 miles south of Chicago. Called the Pilot Hill Wind Project, the farm is set to begin operations in early 2015.
Along with 100 others, Congresswoman Robin Kelly was in attendance and heralded the project as the beginning of something great for Illinois.
“We’re not only breaking ground on an exciting, new wind energy facility, we’re leading the way to a clean energy economy,” Kelly said. “I applaud Microsoft and EDF Renewable Energy for investing in clean energy and standing on the forefront of positive change and social responsibility.”
The project benefits from a 20-year power purchasing agreement with Microsoft, which was essential for getting the project started up as it provided a long-term certainly for revenue. For Microsoft, it is very much in-line with its company sustainability goals.
“The Pilot Hill Wind Project is important to Microsoft because it helps solidify our commitment to taking significant action to shape our energy future by developing clean, low-cost sources to meet our energy needs,” Paul Scanlan, Senior Program Manager for Energy Strategy at Microsoft, said. “Microsoft is focused on transforming the energy supply chain for cloud services, from the power plant to the computer chip. Long-term commitments like Pilot Hill help ensure a cleaner grid to supply energy to our datacenters.”
EDF Renewable Energy views the project as the indicative of future cooperation needed between renewable energy providers and private companies.
“The participation of companies like Microsoft in renewable energy generation projects points to a growing trend of organizations directly procuring clean energy,” Tristan Grimbert, President and CEO of EDF Renewable Energy, said. “Companies are coming to understand that setting renewable energy, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments can deliver attractive cost-savings benefits while locking in long-term energy price stability. We are grateful for the sustained efforts of Vision Energy and Orion Energy who shepherded this project through the origination and development phases, and to the landowners who have patiently waited for this day to come.”
Along from brining jobs and economic growth to the region, all parties hope that the Pilot Hill Wind Project will bring similar investments to the region.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.