Amazon continues investment in renewable energy projects
Amazon has confirmed plans to expand its portfolio of energy assets with investment in two renewable energy projects in the US and Europe.
The company now has 66 renewables schemes globally, including 51 solar rooftop arrays, with the aim of using 100% renewable energy across its global operations. In 2018, it delivered more than 50% usage with the hope the new schemes will enable to scale up its ambitions.
Amazon this week confirmed a new project in Ireland, which will be located in Cork and will be the second wind farm within the country, delivering 23.2MW of renewable capacity with the potential for 60,0000MWh of output annually.
A similar but larger scheme in Virginia, Pittsylvania County, is the seventh project within the US state and will provide 45MW of capacity and generating 100,000MWh annually. Both of the wind farms will begin producing clean energy by 2020 and will supply Amazon’s data centres.
Globally, the online retailer now has 1,342MW of capacity which delivers more than 3.9 million MWh annually and is one of the largest companies to invest in corporate on-site solar within America. Projects in the USA have offset CO2 equivalent to more than 200m miles of truck deliveries.
Amazon's director of sustainability Kara Hurst said: “Major investments in renewable energy are a critical step to address our carbon footprint globally. We will continue to invest in these projects, and look forward to additional investments this year and beyond.”
Ireland's Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton said: “Under the Climate Action Plan, we are committing that 70% of Ireland’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030. Industry leadership is key to helping us reach this target.
“Construction will begin on this project this year and will start contributing to Ireland’s renewable energy capacity by 2020. We look forward to continuing to work with AWS as we strive to make Ireland a leader in the renewable energy space.”
The news follows Amazon's previous commitments to renewables projects earlier this year, including a 91.2MW wind farm in Donegal, Ireland, a 91MW scheme in Sweden, and a 47MW facility in California, due for completion in 2020.
Amazon originally set its 100% renewable energy target in 2014, but it did not put a delivery date against it. The company has been at the forefront of calls for an effective market for renewable energy and was one of a host of firms to call on governments to deliver policies incentivising and increasing opportunities to source renewable electricity through onsite installations and power purchase agreements (PPAs).
But the company is also one of the remaining big global firms to not produce carbon reports, although there are now plans to do so in 2019. Other Silicon Valley firms and competitors have taken the lead to date with Google already meeting a 100% renewables target in 2017 and using its AI systems to deliver more energy efficiency as well. Additionally, Apple announced last year that its global suite of property assets would be powered by 100% renewable energy – and Facebook has set a 2020 target for 100% clean energy.