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🗞️ Driving the news: Microsoft has signed a power purchase agreement with nuclear fusion energy startup Helion for at least 50 megawatts of electricity starting in 2028. This is considered the world's first such deal with a fusion firm
Helion plans to build its fusion plant in Washington state and sell power directly to the grid via Constellation. Microsoft will use the electricity to power its data centers
🌎 Why it matters for the planet: Fusion energy has been seen as the holy grail of clean energy, and this agreement indicates that it is moving out of the research and development stage and into the realm of commercialization
🔭 The context: This deal is part of Microsoft's overall sustainability strategy, which aims to make the company carbon negative by 2030
Helion's Polaris fusion reactor received $500 million in funding in 2021, and the company has ambitious timelines for proving it can produce electricity by 2024
📈 One stat: Microsoft's business grew by 18% last year while emissions fell by 0.5%. The company has signed new power purchase agreements, taking its carbon-free energy to over 13.5 gigawatts, as part of its goal to match 100% of electricity consumption with carbon-free energy purchases all the time
⛏️ To dig deeper: Read the round-up "To nuclear or not to nuclear" from our illuminem Voices L. Stille