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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.
Today, Environmental Finance magazine published the results of its fifth annual Voluntary Carbon Market survey and recognized Microsoft for Best Corporate Offset Programme (registration required to access). In this survey, more than 720 companies nominated leading service providers active in the voluntary carbon markets. In light of the market’s growing maturity, Environmental Finance decided to include questions this year asking for nominations for the Best Corporate Offset Programme and the Best Offset Project. Voters were asked to make their selections on the basis of efficiency and speed of transaction, reliability, innovation, quality of service provided and influence on the market, not just the volume of transactions handled.
For the last year Microsoft has been working with i-fixit, the online repair manual site, to develop and test a curriculum to help people start a small business offering repair services for mobile phone, tablets and laptops. The work was sponsored by our Registered Refurbisher Program, which already works with thousands of PC refurbishers to extend the life of Windows PCs. While good for business and the economy, there is a large environmental benefit from this work, especially when applied to mobile phones and tablets.
Microsoft is once again partnering with others to further fuel cell innovations, with the goal of developing a very efficient, low-cost fuel cell system. Microsoft, Redox Power Systems LLC, the University of Maryland and Trans-Tech Inc. were recently awarded $5 million by the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to develop transformational fuel cells.
Microsoft is committed to reducing our environmental footprint, and over the past two years we continue to meet our goal of becoming carbon neutral. Our approach to meeting that goal, however, continues to evolve. Today, we are announcing another move to make our operations more environmentally sustainable by signing a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind energy in Illinois that will be funded in part by proceeds from Microsoft’s carbon fee.