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As Microsoft embraces a more thoughtful approach to powering the cloud, we’re looking at how we can reinvent the datacenter to be more efficient and use more sustainable energy sources. Very few cities have embraced the clean energy economy like San Antonio and its mayor, Julian Castro. In addition, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has demonstrated its commitment to a more sustainable energy future by establishing The Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute (SERI) under the leadership of Dr. Les Shephard, formerly of Sandia National Lab. With one of our largest datacenters located in San Antonio, we saw an opportunity to work with the city’s renewable energy community on the role of datacenters in accelerating the growth of clean energy.
As Microsoft has embraced its identity as a devices and services company, we’ve also embraced energy’s role in powering the cloud. In the past 12 months, we have made significant progress on an energy strategy that will reduce the resources required to deliver cloud services, from our power purchase agreement with a 110 MW wind farm in Texas, to datacenter innovations like in-rack power generation and biogas-powered datacenters. These initiatives are bound together by our objective to transform the energy supply chain toward radically greater efficiency and reduced environmental impact. We are pursuing this objective in three ways
One year ago today, Ceres and its Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP) coalition launched the Climate Declaration, a nonpartisan statement from the business community that “tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st Century.” Microsoft is a proud signatory of the Climate Declaration, and we strongly agree that innovation has an essential role to play in responding to the threat of climate change.
How do computers fit into ecology? According to Drew Purves, senior scientist with Microsoft Research, they can actually play a pretty interesting role in modeling life on earth. “[Humans are] doing so many things to the natural world. We need to understand at a deeper level what we do to the natural world and where the natural world might go in the future, and what we can do about it to create a more sustainable future.” Check out the video below to hear Drew’s thoughts on the computational ecology work that Microsoft Research is doing.