Amazon.com, and the Internet as a whole, just got a bit cleaner
A good first step, but they need to do a lot more...Most people know Amazon as an online store that sells pretty much everything, as well as digital goods (ebooks, streaming video, music, etc). But over the past 10 years, Amazon has also rapidly grown into the leading 'cloud computing' supplier (known as the Amazon Web Services, or AWS), meaning that they rent space in their data-centers so that others can run software on their servers. Some of their customers include Netflix, Pinterest, Spotify, Dropbox, Reddit, Expedia, and even the CIA. Countless smartphone apps also have a back-end that runs on AWS.
This means that even if you never direct your browser to Amazon.com, you are probably using Amazon's servers. And so far, they've been lagging behind other tech giants when it comes to clean energy. A paper by Greenpeace ranked them last among the big ones, with only Apple hitting 100% on the clean energy index.
Basically, what Amazon does in that area significantly affects the whole internet.
The public shaming by Greenpeace seems to have worked, because a few months later, Amazon committed to using 100% renewable energy for its cloud operations, though details were lacking on the timeframe of the transition.
The first step forward for Amazon was a long-term deal to buy wind power from a wind farm in Indiana, which was just completed. The Fowler Ridge project is located in Benton County and has a capacity of 150 megawatt (MW) from 65 Siemens SWT-2.3-108 turbines (2.3 megawatts each, made in the US). It should produce enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 46,000 U.S. homes per year.
Here's what these bad boys look like:
Pattern Energy/Promo image
"AWS has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint, and we continue to make progress towards this goal," said Jerry Hunter, Vice President, Infrastructure at AWS. "We're very excited to announce with Pattern Energy that the Amazon Wind Farm Fowler Ridge is now live and producing electricity, bringing a new source of clean energy to the grids that power our datacenters."
This is good, but only a first step. AWS is a huge and fast-growing operation, and to get to 100% renewable energy, Amazon needs to act quickly and decisively.
Via Pattern Energy