Amazon Spheres in May 2019. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)
Amazon on Monday announced nine new wind and solar energy projects, bringing its total number of renewable projects to 206. The cloud company and online retail sales juggernaut now claims to be the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in Europe.
Amazon’s renewable power sources will generate 8.5 gigawatts of electricity production capacity worldwide. The energy will provide juice for operations at its corporate offices, Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers, product fulfillment centers and Whole Foods Market stores.
How significant is 8.5 gigawatts of capacity? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the country this year is expected to add 15.4 gigawatts of capacity from utility-scale solar projects and an additional 12.2 gigawatts of wind capacity.
Seattle-based Amazon has been making notable strides as a leader in the climate space in the last couple of years. It helped create the Climate Pledge, a corporate promise to cut and offset its planet-warming emissions to zero by 2040 — a deadline that’s 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. Some 53 companies have signed on.
And putting more clean energy online will also help the company meet closer-term goals.
“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,” said CEO and founder Jeff Bezos in a statement.
We’re adding 9️⃣ new utility-scale wind and solar energy projects in the U.S., Canada, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) April 19, 2021
The company last summer released its first report on its carbon footprint, which totaled 51.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMT CO2e) in 2019, a 15% increase over the previous year. Amazon has also created a $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund, which will pay for investments in companies and technologies that will help it and others reach climate and sustainability goals.
Amazon announced a slate of renewable power projects in December. The new efforts add some 2 gigawatts of production to the previous total. They include a solar power and energy storage project in California, a wind project in Oklahoma, solar projects in Ohio, and its first renewable project in Canada with a solar investment in Alberta. In Europe, Amazon is investing in wind farms off the coasts of Scotland and Sweden and in solar projects in Spain.