A demonstration project brings together the city of Cheyenne and Microsoft in testing a combination of new energy sources. Thursday, the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board approved a $1.5 million Community Readiness grant to install in­frastructure for a Microsoft DataPlant demonstration.

The idea combines a power plant with a data center. According to a release from the Wyoming Business Council, the test involves fuel cell technology converting biogas methane, produced at Cheyenne's Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility, into electricity.

"We're excited about this particular partnership in Wyoming, because it opens up new opportunities for us to be able to test out new concepts about how we access energy and how we use that energy to power our data centers."

Brian Janous, with Datacenter Advanced Development for Microsoft, says energy is becoming so critical for them in running their business, they need to develop new and innovative ways to meet those challenges.

Work on the project should start in January with operation possible by March.