Microsoft and OPG announce Canada-first partnership to power a Net-Zero future in Ontario

Today Microsoft Canada and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced a partnership aimed at tackling climate change and driving sustainable development in Ontario. 

OPG and Microsoft will collaborate through a series of initiatives, focused on creating clean energy solutions and digital skilling programs. 

Through this partnership, Microsoft will obtain Clean Energy Credits (CECs) sourced from OPG’s carbon-free hydro and nuclear assets in Ontario on an hourly basis. 

“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,” Ken Hartwick, OPG president and chief executive officer said. 

Revenue raised through the sale of CECs will be used to benefit ratepayers while also supporting investments in new clean generation solutions within Ontario. 

This partnership will also help Microsoft accelerate progress on its 100/100/0 by 2030 goal. The company is committed to powering its datacentres worldwide with carbon-free energy. 

“Several years ago, Microsoft announced that it would get to net zero by 2030… And then by 2050, to actually go carbon negative to such an extent that we’ve essentially gone negative enough to account for all of the carbon that Microsoft emitted since the founding of the company in 1975,” Chris Barry, president of Microsoft Canada said. “Coming back to the 2030 time horizon, that’s where we landed on this goal of 100/100/0. Which is to be 100 per cent carbon free, 100 per cent of the time in our datacentres, with zero carbon emissions. This is part of a multi-decade journey for us to do our part and hopefully lead the ecosystem, our customers, and the globe on the journey to getting to de-carbonization”

Todd Smith, Minister of Energy (left) and Chris Barry, President of Microsoft Canada speaking at today’s announcement in Toronto.

Barry added that while this partnership is a specific to Ontario initiative, Microsoft is looking at it as a model that could be replicated globally as the company moves toward net-zero. 

In addition to the purchase of CEC’s from OPG, the two companies will work together on several sustainability initiatives. 

Some of these include co-developing an hourly energy matching platform that uses Microsoft Azure IoT and AI to match customers’ power needs with local carbon-free energy sources. The aim of this is to give customers a more accurate view of their emissions impact. 

The two companies will also explore digital co-innovation opportunities to accelerate OPG’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) program. The goal of the program is to develop  a service that other global energy providers can utilize in the future to deploy SMRs locally to fast-track clean energy solutions. 

OPG has also chosen Microsoft Azure as its cloud platform to modernize its applications, IT infrastructure, and services. OPG plans to reduce its carbon footprint by accelerating migration to the cloud, and transforming its business operations. 

“Sustainability is the core of the work that we do.” Barry said. “As we develop datacentres and bring pervasive computing around the world, we have the obligation and opportunity to do that in a way that helps the planet.”

Additionally, OPG has joined the CEO pledge, an initiative launched by Microsoft Canada, to commit used technology to the Government of Canada’s Computers for Schools program, which aims to bridge the digital divide.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at [email protected]

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