New Microsoft deal to deliver nuclear carbon credits in Canada

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Microsoft have announced a Canada-first strategic partnership aimed at tackling climate change and driving sustainable growth across Ontario. The two companies will work together on a series of initiatives that are focused on delivering innovative clean energy solutions and digital skilling programs.

Microsoft will procure Clean Energy Credits (CECs) sourced from OPG’s carbon-free hydro and nuclear assets in Ontario on an hourly basis. This will enable Microsoft to advance progress on its 100/100/0 by 2030 goal, whereby Microsoft is committed to powering its data centres globally with carbon-free energy, around the clock.

Revenue raised through sale of CECs can be used to benefit ratepayers and support investments in new clean generation in the province, helping to meet increased demand for electricity to power Ontario’s economic growth.

Along with the purchase of clean energy credits from OPG, the two companies will also collaborate on several important sustainability initiatives, including co-developing an hourly energy matching platform that utilises Microsoft Azure IoT and AI technology to match a customer’s power needs with local carbon-free energy sources, giving customers greater transparency and accuracy on their emissions impact.

OPG and Microsoft will also explore digital co-innovation opportunities to accelerate OPG’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) program, with a goal of developing a service that other global energy providers can leverage in the future to deploy SMRs locally to fast-track clean energy solutions.

Beyond the CEC agreement currently in place, under a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, Microsoft and OPG will evaluate procurement of CECs associated with the carbon-free energy produced by the soon-to-be-constructed SMR at the Darlington New Nuclear Project site.

As part of the partnership, OPG has also joined the CEO Pledge, an initiative launched by Microsoft Canada, to commit its used technology to the Government of Canada’s Computers for Schools Plus (CSF+) program, with the goal of bridging the digital divide. The two companies will also roll-out a series of digital skilling initiatives to provide Indigenous communities with tangible opportunities, including skills-building to increase economic and employment options.

“This innovative partnership will not only spur economic development in Ontario, but also serve as a model for other companies and jurisdictions to encourage use of clean hydro and nuclear power,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG President and CEO. “As part of OPG’s Climate Change Plan, we committed to achieving net zero as a company by 2040, and to act as a catalyst for efficient economy-wide decarbonisation. Ensuring industry has access to clean energy to offset emissions assists in meeting that goal.”

Chris Barry, President, Microsoft Canada, said: “We can only address climate change by tackling the challenge collectively. Agreements like this one with OPG will help Microsoft move closer to achieving our sustainability commitments, including our goal of having 100 percent of our electricity consumption, 100 percent of the time, matched by zero carbon energy purchases by 2030.

“Working closely with like-minded organizations like OPG, will help us move toward a more sustainable future, while continuing to power innovation in Ontario.”

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