Amazon announced its plans to scale up investment in renewable energy projects to power most of its business operations via renewable energy. At its AWS re:Invent 2021 event in Las Vegas, the company announced 18 new renewable energy projects, primarily wind and solar, across countries such as Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States of America. This will make AWS one of the greenest cloud option for consumers.
These new projects will make Amazon the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. AWS’s total capacity of renewable energy will increase to 12 GW and 33,700 gigawatt hours (GWh) when its current projects are completed. This also means Amazon now has 274 renewable energy projects globally, which helps the path to achieve its target of powering 100% of its business operations using renewable energy by 2025 — five years earlier than its original target of 2030.
Reduction in carbon emissions
Earlier Amazon had claimed that businesses in Europe can reduce energy use by nearly 80% when they run their applications on the AWS Cloud instead of operating their own data centres. The report which was commissioned by AWS also found that if businesses move to AWS’s cloud services, it would decrease the greenhouse gas emissions equalling footprints of millions of households.
According to the company, this would also help reduce carbon emissions of an average workload by up to 96%, when it starts running 100% of its business on renewable energy.
The Climate Pledge
Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019 with the goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions across its businesses by 2040. According to its Sustainability Report, it aims to make 50% of all shipments via its e-commerce platform net-zero carbon by 2030 and by 2040, it wants to reach net-zero carbon for all its operations. This would still be 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.
With its latest announcement of adding more renewable energy projects, it aims to bring new investment, green jobs, and advance the decarbonization of the electricity systems. Of its 274 renewable energy projects globally, 105 are utility-scale wind and solar projects, while 169 of them are rooftop solar projects at its stores and facilities.
Although most of these targets are claims by the company, it could benefit the communities in Europe where the renewable energy projects are to be installed and if it can help reduce the claimed carbon footprint, then it would do the world some good. However, it is still unknown whether Jeff Bezos-founded Blue Origin, which emits carbon dioxide though its rocket-building operations, is part of The Climate Pledge.