This group brings together the best thinkers on energy and climate. Join us for smart, insightful posts and conversations about where the energy industry is and where it is going.

Post

Amazon Largest Renewable Energy Buyer of Any Company

image credit: Photo courtesy of Tony Webster via Flickr
Jane Marsh's picture
Editor Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

  • Member since 2020
  • 78 items added with 59,672 views
  • Apr 26, 2021
  • 1039 views

Amazon recently accomplished a major milestone in its efforts to become a sustainable, eco-friendly business. As of December 2020, the big-tech retail conglomerate became the largest renewable energy buyer of any company in the world. This accomplishment lines up with Amazon’s future goals and the urgent need to reverse the climate crisis.

On Dec. 10, 2020, Amazon announced it had invested in 6.5 GW of renewable energy through solar and wind projects. According to the statement, this energy is enough to power 1.7 million homes in the United States for about one year. With this level, Amazon surpassed Google as the biggest renewable energy buyer.

At the time of the announcement, Amazon had 127 solar and wind projects. As of 2019, solar and wind accounted for 50% of all renewable energy production in the United States, which pushed Amazon toward these specific successful projects.

Since the announcement, though, the big tech company has expanded these projects further. According to its sustainability page, Amazon now has 206 renewable energy projects all over the world.

According to the sustainability page, the recent strides from Amazon are part of the company’s plans to run on completely renewable energy by 2025 and have net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. As the leading company in renewable energy purchases and projects, Amazon sets an example for others to follow. The climate demands action — and investment in renewables provides fast solutions.

The accomplishments also come at a time when Amazon has pledged $2 billion in investments for climate solutions. The company says this funding is the beginning of an encouraging path toward low carbon emissions and a more sustainable economy. Other businesses are likely to follow in Amazon’s footsteps to focus more on renewables.

The Bigger Picture

Amazon’s strides are necessary. Big tech companies are the primary culprits of energy consumption due to data centers. These centers consume vast amounts of power at all hours of the day. Thus, they require an immense amount of resources and generation for operations like storage and cooling.

These energy needs come at an environmental cost. This much consumption results in high greenhouse gas emission levels, specifically carbon. Amazon uses numerous data centers, and the company still has a high carbon footprint. In 2019, its level grew by 15%, which is the opposite result of its hopes with renewable energy projects.

E-commerce increased in 2020 as people relied on the internet throughout the pandemic. Amazon has been growing steadily, too. These factors will no doubt be a challenge to offset and reverse as the company uses more energy to process requests, store data, and send and receive shipments. 

Amazon will need to double down on its renewable energy approach to offset consumption and emissions. Currently, the company is focusing on carbon offset programs and electric vehicles to aid on the path to reducing its footprint. Still, as it expands renewable projects worldwide, data centers should be a primary concern.

Mitigating the negative effects of data centers will be a progressive way to make the big tech company more sustainable. However, it will take a collective effort to reach its 2025 and 2040 goals.

A New Path Forward

Amazon’s newest accomplishments are no doubt impressive and critical. However, it’s important to take a closer look at all its environmental impacts. With increased focus on renewable projects and sustainable initiatives across the board, Amazon can ultimately achieve its goals and be a true leader for progress.

Jane Marsh's picture
Thank Jane for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Discussions
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.

No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »