Amazon is Europe’s largest renewable energy corporate buyer
Online marketplace Amazon has announced nine new wind and solar energy projects across the U.S., Canada, Spain, Sweden and the UK, making the company Europe’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy.
This totals 206 renewable energy projects globally, including:
- 71 utility-scale wind and solar projects.
- 135 solar rooftops on facilities and stores worldwide, which will generate 8.5 GW of electricity production capacity globally.
With this latest announcement, Amazon is now the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in Europe, with more than 2.5 GW of renewable energy capacity, enough to power more than two million European homes a year.
These projects will power Amazon’s corporate offices, Whole Foods Market stores and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers.
All of these projects put Amazon on track to power 100% of its activities with renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of the original target of 2030.
Additionally, Amazon has committed in its Climate Pledge to be net-zero carbon by 2040, ahead of the 2050 Paris Agreement.
“Amazon continues to scale up its investments in renewable energy as part of its effort to meet The Climate Pledge, our commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “With these nine new wind and solar projects, we have announced 206 renewable wind and solar projects worldwide, and we are now the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in Europe and globally. Many parts of our business are already operating on renewable energy, and we expect to power all of Amazon with renewable energy by 2025—five years ahead of our original target of 2030.”
The renewable energy projects
Amazon's renewable projects include:
- Based in California’s Imperial Valley, Amazon’s first solar project paired with energy storage allows the company to align solar generation with the greatest demand. The project generates 100 megawatts (MW) of solar energy, which is enough to power over 28,000 homes for a year and includes 70 MW of energy storage.
- Amazon's first renewable energy investment in Canada, an 80 MW solar project in Alberta. Once complete, which will produce over 195,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy to the grid, or enough energy to power more than 18,000 Canadian homes for a year.
- Amazon’s newest project in the UK is a 350 MW wind farm off the coast of Scotland, Amazon’s largest in the country.
- New projects in the U.S.: Amazon’s first renewable energy project in Oklahoma is a 118 MW wind project located in Murray County. Amazon is also building new solar projects in Ohio’s Allen, Auglaize and Licking counties, creating more than 400 MW of new energy procurement in the state.
- In Spain, Amazon’s newest solar projects are located in Extremadura and Andalucia. These will add more than 170 MW to the grid.
- In Northern Sweden, an onshore wind project will produce 258 MW.
What is a circular economy?
Over the next few centuries, historians will be researching the impact of net-zero targets made during the Coronavirus pandemic. Teachers will be helping students to revise what happened on the day the last drop of oil was burned. Archaeologists will be wondering “How did we get into this mess?” as they dig through ancient 21st century landfill sites, where some of the single-use plastic used this week will be slowly rotting.
A circular economy is a model of production with a sustainable future in mind, where manufacturers are aware of the infinite and finite resources which they use. Let’s break down what a circular economy is - and what it is not.
The linear model of production
A wasteful model of production is ‘take, make, dispose’, with a clear beginning, middle and an ending.
Companies buy the resources needed to make their product at the lowest possible price. The company then sells as many of the product as they can at an affordable price tol make a profit. This profit goes back into buying more resources to make more products and expanding the company. For example:
Take: A manufacturer pays farmers for an ingredient and takes it to their factory.
Make: The ingredient is used to make the desired item and sold to the consumer.
Dispose: When the product is no longer needed by the consumer, it is thrown away. The product may end up in landfill or the sea.
Finite resources and space
Waste is sent to landfills and into the sea, locations which are not sources of infinite space. Some of the ingredients used to manufacture products are also finite..
If production remains at its current rate, the planet is expected to run out of many essential resources throughout the next century:
Fresh supplies of zinc, silver, copper and gold will also be finished, within the next decade.
The ocean is suspected to contain more plastic than fish by 2050. Maybe even earlier if the plastic inside of the fish is included. The world’s largest landfill site is the Ghazipur garbage dump in India, which at one point was taller than the Taj Mahal (73m).
A circular economy seeks to eliminate waste disposed of in the ocean and minimise the use of landfills.
The circular economy model of production
A circular economy respects the space restrictions of current methods of production and waste, as well as the limit of materials and the environment.
Make: Manufacturers create something, with its future in mind. For example,
Use: The consumer buys the item and uses it. When the item has served its purpose, the consumer can return the item to the manufacturer or take it to a dedicated location where it can be repurposed.
Recycle: The item is taken away to be recycled, reused or repaired and begins its journey again, in the circular economy.
Who is implementing a circular economy?
As reported by Sustainability, retailer H&M has started a new initiative, Looop, where customers can donate their old or unwanted clothes at their local branch. These items are sent off to be remade into new products and sold to a new consumer.
Water, our planet's most precious resource, is naturally recycled - we collect water, use it and then flush it away. It is believed that every water molecule has been drunk at least four times, including by dinosaurs. So it’s only natural for recycling to permeate every other aspect of our lives in the circular economy.