Amazon closes in on renewable energy goal

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture
Amazon is moving ahead with its renewable energy strategy.

Amazon has launched 18 new utility-scale wind and solar energy projects across the globe as it accelerates its timeframe for using 100% renewable energy.

The e-tail giant announced it has successfully implemented the projects in the U.S., Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K., totaling 5.6 gigawatts (GW) of procured capacity to date in 2021. Amazon now has 274 renewable energy projects globally and is on a path to power 100% of its business operations with renewable energy by 2025—five years earlier than its original 2030 commitment.

These new utility-scale wind and solar projects bring Amazon’s total committed renewable electricity production capacity to more than 12 GW and 33,700 gigawatt hours (GWh) when the projects become fully operational, or electricity output equivalent to powering more than 3 million U.S. homes for a year.

Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world, with 105 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 169 solar rooftops on facilities and stores worldwide. The 18 new wind and solar projects include:

  • Eight new projects across the U.S.: Amazon added more than 1 GW of utility-scale solar projects in the U.S., including Amazon’s first solar projects in Arizona and Georgia, and additional projects in Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. In total, Amazon says it has enabled more than 6 GW of renewable energy in the U.S. through 62 projects.
  • Four new renewable projects in the Nordics: Amazon added 158 MW through four wind projects in Finland, bringing its total renewable energy portfolio across the Nordics to more than 950 MW.
  • Additional projects in Italy, Spain, and Northern Ireland: Amazon’s new solar project in Italy is the company’s third in the country, adding 40 MW on top of the 66 MW already enabled. In Spain, Amazon’s four new solar projects together add more than 630 MW to the grid. A new wind project in Northern Ireland brings Amazon’s portfolio to 245 MW on Ireland’s all-island grid and its total U.K. portfolio to more than 545 MW of wind energy. In total, Amazon has enabled more than 3.5 GW of renewable energy in Europe through 34 projects, making it the largest procurer of renewable energy in Europe.

Amazon’s sustainability efforts

Amazon has been a major global player in promoting sustainability for the past several years. In May 2021, the company issued a new $1 billion bond focused on funding projects in five key sustainability areas: renewable energy, clean transportation, sustainable buildings, affordable housing, and socioeconomic advancement & empowerment. The bond will enable investors to join Amazon in its social and environmental efforts.

  • Net Zero Carbon by 2040: The retailer is deploying technology and people to reach net-zero carbon across Amazon by 2040, one decade ahead of the Paris Agreement.
  • 100,000 Electric Delivery Vehicles: Amazon placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vehicles with Rivian, the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles. Amazon also partnered to order electric vehicles from Mahindra Electric and Mercedes Benz.
  • Shipment Zero: Making all Amazon shipments net-zero carbon through Shipment Zero, with a goal of delivering 50% of all shipments with net-zero carbon by 2030.
  • Climate Pledge Fund: Amazon is investing $2 billion to support the scalability and development of technologies and services that accelerate and facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Right Now Climate Fund: Amazon is investing in nature-based solutions, which include conservation, restoration, and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in forests, wetlands, and grasslands across the globe.
  • Affordable Housing: The retailer is supporting innovative housing affordability initiatives
  • Advancement and Empowerment: The company is increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups to enter the technology workforce and launching, scaling, and investing in skills training programs.

The new solar and wind projects will supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers that support millions of customers globally. According to Amazon, the amount of clean energy produced by these projects will avoid the equivalent of the annual emissions of nearly 3 million cars in the U.S. each year, or about 13.7 million metric tons.

“We are moving quickly and deliberately to reduce our carbon emissions and address the climate crisis,” said Kara Hurst, VP of worldwide sustainability at Amazon. “Significant investments in renewable energy globally are an important step in delivering on The Climate Pledge, our commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. Renewable energy projects also bring new investment, green jobs, and advance the decarbonization of the electricity systems in communities around the world.”

To see Amazon’s renewable energy projects around the world, see this interactive map.