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Microsoft announced a plan to open in Sweden in 2021, the most advanced and sustainable data center location ever made. The company says that the new region, which includes data centers in Gävle Sandviken and Staffanstorp, will help it achieve the goal of using 100% renewable energy sources in all of its buildings and data centers by 2025.

Microsoft will also benefit from being more transparent about energy consumption, spurred by a new service it has developed with a new Swedish energy partner, Vattenfall AB. 

Noelle Walsh, Microsoft Cloud Corporate VP, said in a blog post on Tuesday that the companies have come up with a ’24/7 matching solution‘ to precisely match energy consumption with renewable sources.

A noble mission

Walsh explained in the post that Microsoft is chasing the sustainability goals by buying certificates called ‘Guarantees of Origin.’ The certificates are blocks or specified amounts of renewable energy calculated using the average annual electricity consumption of each specific building.

However, this method of buying renewable energy is not reliable since it doesn’t account for variations of demand that occur over short periods.

So, if the sun is not powerful enough during the day, there could be times when the facilities still need to source energy from traditional sources.

Some things haven’t been worked out

Walsh says that there is no exact way of knowing the actual source of its energy consumption with a variation like this on an hourly basis.

She said that the company had seen remarkable progress in the pathway to renewable sourcing and commitments and a fundamental flaw in monitoring the source and quantity of energy used.

Without transparency in supply and demand, market forces will not ensure that renewable energy demand comes from renewable sources.

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