Amazon Leads Corporate Charge to Clean Energy Future

The World’s Largest Corporate Purchaser of Renewable Energy, Amazon is On Track to hit 100% Renewable Energy by 2025, says VP of Sustainability Kara Hurst

No stranger to sustainability firsts, Amazon continues to lead the corporate world on renewable energy investment.

For the fourth consecutive year, the e-commerce giant is the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, according to BloombergNEF – spending more on renewable energy than any other company on the planet since 2020.

Granted, Amazon has more to spend than many, given its status as the world’s fifth-most valuable company, with a market cap of US$1.58 trillion, and revenues of US$554 billion in the 12 months ending September 2023 – a 10.32% year-on-year increase.

In 2023, the Seattle-headquartered company invested in more than 100 new solar and wind energy projects globally. This includes 11 utility-scale projects in Texas, which includes the company’s third-largest solar project worldwide (Amazon Solar Farm Texas, Outpost), 39 in Europe and 12 across the Asia-Pacific region.

With that, Amazon now has a portfolio of more than 500 solar and wind projects in more than 20 US states and 27 countries.

Once operational, they will generate 77,000 GWh of clean energy annually. That’s enough to power 7.2 million US homes.

This continued commitment to renewables investment reflects Amazon’s dedication to transitioning to cleaner energy alternative – and cements its position as a “global leader in this space”, according to Kyle Harrison, Head of Sustainability Research at BloombergNEF.

Corporate investment is an important catalyst to help transition toward a clean energy future and Big Tech companies are increasingly driving the purchase of clean power, with Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and Google all frontrunners in the transition to clean energy.

Amazon continues to lap the big tech companies many times over.  

Amazon has a Portfolio of More Than 500 Solar and Wind Projects Globally

Amazon on Track to reach 100% Renewable Energy by 2025

Amazon’s significant sustainability milestone puts the company “on track to have 100% of the electricity we use to be attributable to renewable energy by 2025”, declared Kara Hurst, Amazon’s Vice President, Worldwide Sustainability in a LinkedIn post.

That is five years ahead of schedule.

And given its achievement in reaching 90% renewable energy by the end of 2022, Amazon could reach its goal even earlier.

This is an impressive achievement given the size, scale and footprint of Amazon operations across all Amazon businesses – think thousands of facilities across more than 50 countries, from fulfilments centres and warehouses to corporate offices, AWS data centres and physical retail stores.

“By scaling renewable energy, we aim to make Amazon a more resilient, sustainable business and drive a global transition to cleaner energy,” Amazon said in its 2022 Sustainability Report. “We contract renewable power from utility-scale wind and solar projects that add clean energy to the grid.”

Amazon is investing in renewables both on-site, as rooftop solar on the buildings it operates, for example, and offsite – through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), investing in new, utility-scale wind and solar projects.

In its own operations, in 2022, Amazon opened its first standalone Australian sort centre in Melbourne with more than 3,000 on-site solar panels, to meet up to 80% of its electricity needs – and it now has six facilities with on-site solar in Japan.

In 2023 alone, rooftop solar installations rolled out across 15 facilities in Europe, and in India, across the rooftops o dozens of facilities.

At AWS, 19 regions are now operating on 100% renewable energy worldwide, including Frankfurt, London, Mumbai, Beijing, Oregon and Ohio.

Kara Hurst, Vice President, Worldwide Sustainability

Powering Clean Energy Future and Generating Economic Growth

More than just greening its own operations, Amazon’s hefty energy investments bring new clean energy sources to the communities where the projects are located – and generate real economic growth.

Recently released data shows Amazon’s solar and wind farms have helped to generate more than US$12 billion in investments in communities from 2014 through 2022 and supported 39,000 jobs in 2022 alone, according to a recently introduced economic model developed by Amazon.

In Europe alone, Amazon has generated around €2.4 billion in investment in Europe, helping to contribute €723 million to the region’s GDP and supporting 3,900 jobs in 2022.

“Amazon demonstrates how a corporation can help accelerate society’s transition to a clean energy future”, says BloombergNEF’s Harrison.

Among recent wind and solar projects in Europe, Amazon invested in its first solar farm in Greece, following its first in Poland the year before.

Rapidly scaling clean energy in the APAC region, Amazon added more than a dozen new projects. This includes its first in South Korea, which is estimated to create 2,400 jobs during construction, and seven utility-scale projects in India since September 2022.

These investments help to accelerate the decarbonisation of those energy grids as they move away from fossil fuels.

For AWS, the investments are not only helping to power its own operations but also providing new sources of clean energy to the gird, “spurring economic growth, and supporting jobs in the communities where our customers live and work,” says Adam Selipsky, CEO of AWS.

“We’re focused on continuing to find innovative ways to bring new projects online, address grid constraints, and work with policymakers to mitigate the impacts of climate change, all of which is helping Amazon move closer to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2025.”

What is the Impact of Amazon’s Renewable Energy Investments?

Amazon’s renewables portfolio now covers 27 countries and 20 US states, from Michigan to Missouri, and from South Korea to Spain.

Recent projects include those across the US, in Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Virginia, and those internationally, from Canada to Greece, to South Korea.

Among these, Amazon recently announced its first renewable energy project built on a brownfield – land that has been abandoned due to industrial pollution.

With more than 450,000 brownfields in the US, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, and often located near power lines and public roads, brownfield sites can be connected to the grid more easily, turning what was once unused land into an economic opportunity for local communities.

“We will continue rapidly investing in the projects, infrastructure, and policies needed to help the world transition toward clean energy sources and address climate change at scale,” says Sustainability VP Hurst.

Here, we take a look at a few of Amazon’s energy projects and how they impact local communities around the world.

  • Amazon Wind Farm Texas, Great Prairie – as the largest renewable energy project in Amazon’s global portfolio, this recently operating project has more than 350 wind turbines and over 1,000 MW of total capacity. It is projected to provide an estimated US$70 million in additional tax revenue over the next 30 years.

  • Wind farm, Brazil – during the recent construction of a new wind farm in Brazil, Amazon’s second renewable energy project in the country, an estimated 1,000 jobs have been created, with nearly half filled by workers from local communities in the region’s countryside, according to developer Elera Renovaveis.

  • Wind Farm China-Daqing – now operational, not only has this farm with 27 turbines provided more than 200 jobs, but it is expected to generate more than 300,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean energy every year, which is enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 92,000 ordinary Chinese households. It will also help Heilongjiang Province reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 217,300 tons per year, which is equivalent to reducing the exhaust emissions of more than 90,000 2.0-emission vehicles per year.

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