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While the physical design of a device certainly plays an important role in how it consumes power, software can also influence power consumption based on how it is programmed to use the device’s CPU, disk and memory. Windows 8 has numerous features that help make it more energy efficient, but we are also starting to see specific applications on the Windows Store that are helping people understand and measure their Windows PC’s energy use.
For the past several years, I’ve used Earth Day as an opportunity to look at Microsoft’s progress on environmental sustainability issues over the past 12 months and where we are headed in the year to come.
The most significant progress to report is around Microsoft’s work to achieve carbon neutrality in our current fiscal year. We announced this commitment last year. I’m excited we made the commitment and are on track to meet it, but I am even more excited about how we’re meeting it. We are one of the very first companies to put an internal price on carbon emissions, which provides our business and operational groups more awareness and incentives to conserve energy and seek renewable power. The fee enables us to invest in renewable energy credits and certified offset projects to meet our carbon neutrality goal. I attended the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen a few years ago where the nations of the world tried and failed to achieve a global system for addressing greenhouse gas emissions. With that in mind, I’m struck that Microsoft is one of very few organizations in the world today imposing a carbon fee across operations in 100+ countries in a way that makes economic and environmental sense.
One of the great joys of my job, and something that motivates me to come to work every day, is the idea that our work can make a difference. In the past year, our team, along with NGO partners and carbon offset companies, have spent a tremendous amount of time trying to decide how best to leverage Microsoft’s carbon neutral funds. Today, I am pleased to share with you some of the projects we are funding.
Last year we announced that Microsoft would make a commitment to become carbon neutral. The cornerstone of that commitment was an internal carbon fee that’s designed to increase the company’s costs for using carbon-based forms of energy. An intended result? Buying more renewable energy and becoming more energy efficient. Today, we are pleased to announce that we are moving forward with purchasing renewable energy directly. We have signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind energy in Texas that will be funded in part by proceeds from Microsoft’s carbon fee.