Brookfield to Set Up 10.5 GW Renewable Projects for Microsoft as AI Drives Demand

Demand for electricity from data centers is expected to double by 2026.


Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management, along with Brookfield Renewable Partners, has signed a global framework agreement with tech giant Microsoft to develop over 10.5 GW of new renewable power capacity, such as wind and solar farms, by 2030, as energy-intensive data centers powering artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to drive up electricity demand.

Data centers, AI, and cryptocurrencies are estimated to consume at least 1,000 TWh of electricity by 2026, more than doubling from 460 TWh in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency. The figure is roughly equivalent to Japan’s total electricity consumption.

The five-year agreement is nearly eight times larger than the biggest previous corporate renewable energy purchase ever recorded, the companies claimed. It is expected to help meet Microsoft’s goal of having 100% of its electricity consumption matched by zero-carbon sources by 2030.

Last year, the tech firm, which is also known for its cloud computing service Azure, acquired a stake in OpenAI – the company behind the generative ChatGPT that brought the term AI into the collective conscience.

The deal, which aims to help “decarbonize the grid,” underscores how AI’s insatiable appetite for computing power and electricity is becoming a major force shaping the renewable energy landscape at a time when the world is trying to transition away from fossil fuels.

“As the global trend of digitalization and the adoption of AI continues to drive growth in demand for electricity, we are thrilled to collaborate with Microsoft to support their customer demand…,” said Connor Teskey, CEO of Brookfield Renewable Partners, a subsidiary of the Brookfield Asset Management.

Adrian Anderson, Microsoft’s head of renewable energy procurement, said, “Microsoft wants to use our influence and purchasing power to create lasting positive impact for all electricity consumers.”

Brookfield currently has over $900 billion in assets under management, while Brookfield Renewable’s operating capacity stands at 33 GW, with more than 155 GW of projects in the development pipeline.

Last year,  Brookfield Renewable Partners emerged as one of the leading global large-scale solar photovoltaic project developers in Mercom Capital Group’s Leading Global Large-Scale Solar PV Developers report.

Previously, it had acquired Duke Energy’s unregulated utility-scale commercial renewables business in the U.S. for approximately $2.8 billion.