Amazon teams up with Shell and Eneco for major offshore wind project


The online retail giant has signed an agreement with the Crosswind Consortium, a joint venture between the Dutch energy giant, for a new 759MW offshore wind farm that is due to begin operating in 2023.

Under the agreement, Amazon will purchase 380MW of the generation capacity via Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). It will use the generated electricity to power offices, warehouses, data centres and other operations across Europe.

Amazon was already the world’s largest corporate renewable energy purchaser, having surpassed investments by Facebook and by Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. late last year. The e-commerce giant claims that the new Amazon-Shell HKN Offshore Wind Project will be the largest single renewable energy project in its global portfolio.

In a statement, Amazon said it has chosen to work with the Crosswind Consortium because it has “proposed a number of unique innovations for the wind farm including technology demonstrations that could be implemented at full scale in the future. These include a floating solar park, short-term battery storage, optimally tuned turbines, and ‘green hydrogen’ made by electrolysis as a further storage technique.”

The statement adds: “In addition, this project offers the opportunity to demonstrate the combination of these measures to ensure a continuous power supply regardless of wind conditions.”

Elsewhere in its renewable energy investment approach, Amazon has backed 62 off-site, utility-scale wind and solar projects and 125 solar rooftops across its own estate. Amazon’s total renewable energy portfolio globally covers more than 6.9GW of generation capacity.

Existing climate plans

Both Amazon and Shell have been accused of climate inaction in the past, and their new emissions commitments have not been without criticism.

Amazon is aiming to become a net-zero company globally by 2040, under its Climate Pledge. It is working with Global Optimism – the brainchild of Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac – to encourage other corporates to make the same commitments. Other supporters include the likes of Henkel, Microsoft, Coca-Cola European Partners, Unilever, Best Buy and Siemens.

Shell, meanwhile, announced a global 2050 net-zero target last year. The company is regarded as the seventh-largest corporate emitter of carbon dioxide equivalent and, as such, will need to shift its business model to meet the target.

While some energy majors have excluded Scope 3 (indirect) emissions from final fuel use from their net-zero plans – even though this is typically where the bulk of their footprint lies – Shell has included targets in this space. While it has not set time-bound goals to cut fossil fuel production, it is increasing investments in sectors including solar power generation and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure as well as offshore wind.

Sarah George 

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