Microsoft Inks Renewable Energy Deal In Singapore

Software giant Microsoft has disclosed a deal which will see the tech firm acquire all the electricity generated from renewable energy sources by Sunseap, a Singaporean solar company. Sunseap is planning a rooftop solar project that is expected to be the biggest of its kind in Singapore. The deal will run for a period of 20 years.

The agreement is the most recent example of tech multinationals inking deals to purchase renewable energy as part of their efforts to move towards energy sources that are environmentally friendly. Last year the Redmond, Washington-based software maker inked two agreements in the Netherlands and Ireland to purchase renewable energy sourced from wind in order to power its data center facilities located in Europe.

First for Asia

“This deal is Microsoft’s first renewable energy deal in Asia, and is our third international clean energy announcement, following two wind deals announced in Ireland and the Netherlands in 2017,” Christian Belady, a Microsoft general manager, said.

Microsoft has indicated that it is close to achieving its goal of using renewable energy sources for 50% of its energy requirements at its data centers numbering 100 spread in more than 40 countries.

The solar energy-collecting panels are expected to be installed on rooftops across Singapore and have an electricity generation capacity of 60 megawatts. The project has already kicked off and by the close of the year is expected to be operational.

Privacy rights

Microsoft’s inking of a solar energy deal coincides with the upcoming hearing of a case pitting the software maker against the U.S. Department of Justice. The case is seeking to determine whether an email provider in the United States can be compelled to hand over emails that are stored outside the country.

In 2013 federal prosecutors produced a court warrant demanding that Microsoft turn over emails belonging to a suspected drug trafficker. However though Microsoft had some metadata belonging to the suspect’s email account, the email itself was kept in a data center located in Ireland. Microsoft ended up only handing over the metadata but not the actual emails on the grounds that the court warrant was limited to within the United States. This is what kicked off a legal battle which the U.S. Supreme Court will now have the opportunity to decide.

Transnational legal experts and digital rights advocates have warned that should the Supreme Court decide in U.S. government’s favor, foreign governments will be encouraged to seize the private communications of Americans.

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