Amazon has stated that it has become the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy after signing agreements to purchase energy from 26 wind and solar projects around the world. “We are on a path to running 100% of our business on renewable energy by 2025—five years ahead of our original target of 2030,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said. “This is just one of the many steps we’re taking that will help us meet our Climate Pledge,” he added, referring to Amazon’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2040.
So far, Google had been the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, claiming that title in 2019 but Amazon now claims to have surpassed that capacity. Amazon’s new projects, located in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the US, will have the capacity to produce 3.4 GW of electricity.
Since 2015, Amazon has backed a total of 127 such wind and solar deals, with a capacity of 6.5 GW. Between its own projects, and sources of renewable energy already feeding into the electric grids powering Amazon infrastructure, 42 per cent of the company’s operations in 2019 were powered by renewable energy.
But Amazon’s real estate footprint—and its need for power—are growing fast. The company ended 2019 with 333 million square feet of warehouses, data centers, office space and physical stores, including Whole Foods grocery stores. In 2020 alone, Amazon has expanded its fulfillment center footprint by 50 per cent to meet pandemic-driven surges in online shopping, according to a recent federal securities filing. Meanwhile, work-from-home policies and online schooling have led to rising demand for new data centers from Amazon and other cloud-computing providers like Microsoft and Google.
REGlobal’s Views: Amazon’s expanding need for energy means that while procuring additional power from renewable sources is a major step forward in fighting climate change, the company has more work to do on sustainability.