Amazon is the largest cloud provider in the world and running that service is a network of energy hungry data centres. Thankfully, those data centres will soon be running off pure renewable energy, with Amazon investing in new projects to help meet its 100% renewable energy target by 2030.
The projects receiving this round of investment are located in the UK and the US, and all form part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge. This commitment states that Amazon will use 80% renewable energy by 2024, 100% renewable energy by 2030, and be completely net zero carbon by 2040. That’s an ambitious goal for the company, and will put it 10 years ahead of the Paris Climate Accords.
In terms of investment coming to the UK, Amazon has announced the largest corporate wind power purchase agreement (PPA) the country has ever seen, located on the Kintyre Peninsula, Scotland. Once complete, the new Amazon Wind Farm will provide 50MW of new renewable capacity with expected generation of 168,000MWh of clean energy annually, enough to power 46,000 UK homes.
Amazon’s Scottish wind farm will be joined by two solar farms in Warren County, North Carolina, and Prince George County, Virginia. Together, they total 215 MW and are expected to generate 500,997 MWh of energy annually. This will be Amazon’s second renewable energy project in the state of North Carolina and eighth renewable energy project in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Once complete, the three new Amazon renewable energy wind and solar projects will provide 265 MW of additional renewable capacity and are expected to begin producing energy in 2021, supplying energy to the company’s Amazon Web Services data centers, which power Amazon and millions of AWS customers globally.
Amazon’s history with reducing its climate footprint
To date, Amazon has launched 18 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects that will generate over 1,600 MW of renewable capacity and deliver more than 4.6 million MWh of clean energy annually – enough to power 368,000 U.S. homes. Amazon has also installed more than 50 solar rooftops on fulfillment centers and sort centers around the globe that generate 98 MW of renewable capacity and deliver 130,000 MWh of clean energy annually.
“In addition to the environmental benefits inherently associated with running applications in the cloud, Amazon is committed to minimising our carbon emissions and reaching 80% renewable energy use across the company by 2024. We’ve announced eight projects this year and have more projects on the horizon – and we’re committed to investing in renewable energy as a critical step toward addressing our carbon footprint globally,” said Kara Hurst, Director of Sustainability, Amazon.
“With nearly 70 renewable energy projects around the globe – including 54 solar rooftops – we are making significant progress towards reaching Amazon’s company-wide commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.”
It’s not just its commitment to generating cleaner power, as Amazon has also invested heavily in reducing the carbon footprint of its shopping portal. Earlier this year the company announced its intention to purchase 100,000 Rivian electric vans, which it hopes will begin hitting the road by 2021, meaning it can remove traditional vehicles that pollute the environment.