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AWS: We’re (Still) Going 100% Renewable

"We expect more projects in 2019..."

By CBR Staff Writer

Amazon has thrown its support behind three wind power projects in Ireland, Sweden and the United States, saying it will procure 670,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually as it bids to make its data centres 100 percent renewables-powered; currently that number sits around 50 percent.

The company has been something of a laggard when it comes to meeting that commitment; first announced in 2014. Google, by contrast, hit its target in 2018, saying it has commitments in place for 2.6GW of wind and solar power. Amazon has not said when it expects to reach its target.

AWS Renewables Commitment: 3 More Wind Farms

In Ireland, AWS will tap power from a 91.2 MW wind farm in Donegal. Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland commented in a release that: “AWS’s investment in renewable projects in Ireland illustrates their continued commitment to adding clean energy to the grid and it will make a positive contribution to Ireland’s renewable energy goals.”

In Sweden AWS is also committed to purchasing 91 MW of power from a new wind farm in Bäckhammar, while a wind farm project in Tehachapi is expected to bring up to 47MW of new renewable energy capacity onstrea, by the end of 2020.

Energy consumption is a big concern for organisations building large scale datacentres. An IHS Markit report estimates that: “Between 2 percent and 3 percent of developed countries’ electricity consumption is currently attributed to data centers. For most data centers, the largest operational cost is the electricity used for cooling.”

IHS Markit also found that while small datacentres have some advantages when it comes to onsite energy options, large or hyper scale centres are at the forefront of renewable energy practices. It’s a position pushed hard by cloud providers, with Microsoft Azure for example, last year commissioning a study on the carbon benefits of cloud computing vis-a-vis less efficient data centres.

“Each of these projects brings us closer to our long-term commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy to power our global AWS infrastructure,” commented Peter DeSantis, VP of Global Infrastructure at AWS, in a release.

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“We expect more projects in 2019 as we continue toward our goal of powering all AWS global infrastructure with renewable energy,” he said

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