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EDF Renewables acquired 96% of the175 MW Pilot Hill Wind Project (formerly known as K4) from Orion Energy Group LLC and Vision Energy LLC in July 2014. The project benefits from a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Microsoft Corporation.
Pilot Hill Wind Project, located 60 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois, in Kankakee and Iroquois counties, will consist of wind turbines supplied by General Electric (GE). The wind project is situated on the same electric grid that powers Microsoft’s Chicago area datacenter. Commercial operation began in September 2015.
The participation of companies like Microsoft in renewable energy generation projects points to a growing trend of ‘blue chip’ organizations taking charge of their energy destiny by procuring directly, with a focus on both reducing their carbon footprint and controlling long-term energy costs. It is encouraging to see leading corporations investing in the US wind sector based not only on their desire to positively impact the environment, but also because it simply makes good business sense, as the cost of wind energy continues to decline, and with the support provided by the Production Tax Credit.
“The Pilot Hill Wind Project is important to Microsoft because it helps solidify our commitment to taking significant action to shape our energy future by developing clean, low-cost sources to meet our energy needs,” said Brian Janous, Director of Energy Strategy for Microsoft. “Microsoft is focused on transforming the energy supply chain for cloud services from the power plant to the chip. Long term commitments like Pilot Hill help ensure a cleaner grid to supply energy to our datacenters.”
During the construction phase of the project, approximately 175 jobs were created.