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Richard Brooks's picture
Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer, Reliable Energy Analytics LLC

Dick Brooks is the inventor of patent 11,374,961: METHODS FOR VERIFICATION OF SOFTWARE OBJECT AUTHENTICITY AND INTEGRITY and the Software Assurance Guardian™ (SAG ™) Point Man™ (SAG-PM™) software...

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  • Jan 27, 2021

Amazon was the leading buyer of clean energy in 2020, announcing 35 separate clean energy PPAs in 2020, totaling 5.1 GW. The company has now purchased over 7.5 GW of clean energy to date, vaulting it ahead of Google (6.6 GW) and Facebook (5.9 GW) as the world’s largest clean energy buyer. French oil major Total (3 GW), TSMC (1.2 GW) and U.S. telecom Verizon (1 GW) were the next largest corporate buyers of clean energy in 2020.

BNEF said the flow of new companies making clean energy commitments is another indicator of how much more the market can grow. 65 new companies joined the RE100 in 2020, pledging to offset 100% of their electricity consumption with clean energy. BNEF forecast that the 285 RE100 members will collectively need to purchase an additional 269 TWh of clean electricity in 2030 to meet their RE100 goals. Should this shortfall be met exclusively with offsite PPAs, it would catalyze an estimated 93 GW of new, incremental solar and wind build.


Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jan 27, 2021

"The company has now purchased over 7.5 GW of clean energy to date,..."

Richard, gigawatt (GW) is a term used to describe power, not energy. Saying "The company has now purchased over 7.5 GW of clean energy to date" is like saying "It's only a year old, but my car has over 20,000 miles per hour on it!"


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 27, 2021

It's worded awkwardly in the original article, but because this is about PPAs and not direct total generation bought it still tracks-- Amazon has bought 7.5 GW of clean energy capacity via the PPA

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jan 28, 2021

"...because this is about PPAs and not direct total generation bought it still tracks..."

Does it? What is your understanding of the sentence "The company has now purchased over 7.5 GW of clean energy to date"? Because to a physicist, it translates to:

"Until now, the company has bought 7.5 gigajoules per second of clean energy."

Does it mean that Amazon has bought a constant stream of clean energy transfer, on wires from solar panels or wind turbines to the company's headquarters and server farms? Or has the company purchased an interruptible contribution of clean energy to the grid mix, that sometimes might be 7.5 gJ/sec, and other times 0 gJ/sec?

 I would really like to know, because it sounds like renewa-babble made up by Amazon's marketing department and parroted by supporters of the "energy transition". Thanks.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 28, 2021

It's a poorly phrased explanation of the fact that Amazon has purchased/licensed 7.5 GW of clean energy capacity to help power their operations. 

Perhaps this will help:

Amazon’s renewable energy investments are a mixture of power-purchase agreements (PPAs), new-build utility-scale projects, on-site installations and participation in renewable certificate and guarantee programs. Amazon maps its renewable projects but does not discern between PPAs and newly added capacity.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jan 28, 2021

Until I see solid evidence  I'll continue to accept these claims of "participation in renewable certificate and guarantee programs" as worthless renewa-babble.

Google, for example, a company that has already claimed it runs on 100% renewable energy, has  just announced it's going to figure out how to run on 100% renewable energy (I kid you not).

But I have to give the company credit for its new-found honesty - they admit they're not doing it now, but are going to try to do it:

"Shifting to round-the-clock carbon-free energy will be 'our biggest sustainability moonshot yet, with enormous practical and technical complexity,' Pichai wrote. 'We are the first major company that's set out to do this, and we aim to be the first to achieve it.'

Just how Google will achieve this, and how much it will cost, remain open questions."

Or, whether it's possible to achieve. 

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