The FINANCIAL -- On July 13, Microsoft Corp. and Puget Sound Energy (PSE) announced that the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) has formally approved a new contract that will allow Microsoft to directly purchase clean energy to power its 15 million-square-foot Puget Sound region campus.
The terms of the contract stipulate that Microsoft will buy only carbon-free energy; purchase renewables at a level greatly in excess of the Renewable Portfolio Standards percentages established by the Washington Energy Independence Act (I-937), more than doubling that standard in 2021; and take significant actions to protect ratepayers, including payment of a substantial transition fee and ongoing funding for conservation and low-income programs. Microsoft will continue to utilize PSE’s distribution system, according to Microsoft.
“This agreement is good for our business, but more important it’s good for residents, the environment and the state of Washington,” said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft. “Once the transition is complete, the vast majority of our Puget Sound campus will be powered solely by carbon-free fuels. This contract is a helpful innovation in meeting the demand for renewable energy in a way that protects other energy consumers.”
“The energy needs of our customers are unique,” said Kimberly Harris, president and CEO of Puget Sound Energy. “Our history of working with our customers and the WUTC to advance innovative rate ideas includes responding to the 2001 energy crisis with a new structure for large customers to manage their own power, current offerings like the Microsoft contract, our Green Direct program for commercial and municipal customers, and our Solar Choice option for residential customers. We’re proud to be a part of Microsoft’s response to renewable energy demands, and we’re proud to be part of the lives of our million-plus customers across Western Washington.”
The agreement is the result of several years of collaborative work between the company and utility provider. The agreement covers approximately 80 percent of Microsoft’s total energy load in the Puget Sound area; the remaining 20 percent will continue to be serviced by PSE. In addition, PSE will also continue to provide distribution and related services to Microsoft, which will remain one of PSE’s largest customers.