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Power purchase deal inked with Microsoft for Lenalea wind farm

02 May 2024

Eoin Doherty, Vice President, EMEA Regional Leader, Microsoft Cloud Operations + Innovation with Stuart Donnelly, Director of Corporate Power Purchase Agreements, SSE Renewables and Mary Lynch, Portfolio Director at FuturEnergy Ireland.

SSE Renewables and FuturEnergy Ireland have jointly announced today that Microsoft has entered into a long-term Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA) with the co-development partners that will add 30MW of wind energy capacity to Ireland’s electricity grid by way of the newly commissioned Lenalea Wind Farm near Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland.

The renewable energy Corporate PPA secures a sustainable route to market for one of Ireland’s newest onshore wind farms, which was jointly developed by SSE Renewables and FuturEnergy Ireland. SSE Renewables is part of FTSE-listed SSE plc, while FuturEnergy Ireland is a Coillte-ESB joint venture.

Under the terms of the Corporate PPA, the renewable electricity produced by the seven Vestas V117-4.3MW onshore wind turbines at Lenalea Wind Farm will contribute towards Microsoft’s goal of powering its data centre operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Today’s announcement is additional to 900MW of renewable energy CPPAs in Ireland that Microsoft announced in November 2022. Of that capacity, more than 216MW of onshore wind and solar energy projects have already reached commercial operation, delivering clean energy to Ireland’s grid, with a further 250MW due to reach commercial operation this year.  

This agreement is the first long-term Corporate PPA to be jointly entered into by co-development partners SSE Renewables and FuturEnergy Ireland.  CPPAs, such as this one, provide important routes to market for renewable energy developments, and play a valuable role in enabling the development and accelerated delivery of renewable energy generation to underpin Ireland’s decarbonisation targets. 

The deal with Microsoft will also provide for a Community Benefit Fund of approximately €150,000 per year, equivalent to €2 for every megawatt hour generated by the project. The allocation of funds by way of annual grants will be overseen by a locally appointed Community Committee, which has already been established. A funding strategy will be developed in conjunction with the Community Committee to inform and shape the structure of the fund.

Today’s announcement follows the completion of construction at Lenalea in December 2023. The 30.1MW onshore wind farm is now fully operational, generating renewable electricity for export to the national grid, and contributing towards Ireland’s 2030 targets for onshore wind.

"Securing our first long-term Corporate PPA for new onshore wind in Ireland is a satisfying milestone for SSE Renewables and our development partner FuturEnergy Ireland. We are pleased to support Microsoft’s climate and renewable energy goals, while delivering a meaningful contribution to Ireland’s energy targets and security of supply. Working together we will also deliver a positive socio-economic impact through a substantial, locally managed community benefit fund. This agreement is an excellent example of sectors collaborating in Ireland to meet infrastructure and sustainability objectives, supporting the accelerated delivery of renewable energy, which will be vital in the years ahead to enable renewable energy investments and the delivery of 2030 and longer-term net zero targets."

Stuart Donnelly Director of Corporate Power Purchase Agreements, SSE Renewables

"Lenalea represents the first project delivered by FuturEnergy Ireland and the very first step towards achieving our 1GW 2030 target. It is also the first of seven projects which we expect to deliver in partnership with SSE Renewables.

Corporate PPAs are an important part of the Irish electricity market and we are very happy to support Microsoft’s commitment to carbon-free energy targets. Such collaboration and partnerships are critical if Ireland is to meet its climate action goals. We are also looking forward to maximising the local impact of the Community Benefit Fund, which is now live."

Mary Lynch Portfolio Director at FuturEnergy Ireland

"At Microsoft, we are committed to playing our part in supporting the decarbonisation of energy grids in markets in which we operate data centres. With the Lenalea Wind Farm achieving commercial operations, we are taking another important step on our journey to achieve 100% renewable energy supply and support wider efforts to add clean energy capacity to Ireland’s energy grid."

Eoin Doherty Vice President, EMEA Regional Leader, Microsoft Cloud Operations + Innovation

Delivery of the Lenalea Wind Farm represented a total capital investment of more than €40 million by SSE Renewables and FuturEnergy Ireland, providing a significant economic boost locally. Construction and delivery of the project helped to support County Donegal’s economy and employment, with over 150,000 working hours recorded by regional contractors employing a significant local workforce. The positive economic contribution from the project to the region is expected to continue during the wind farm’s operation through a combination of local operational spend as well as annual contributions in commercial rates payments to the local authority.