Amazon adds 2.7 gigawatts of renewable energy to its operations

But the question remains whether it is polluting more or less

Amazon says it is adding 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity to its operations that are spread across 71 new renewable energy projects worldwide, as it works towards becoming a carbon neutral biz by 2040.

The megacorp's latest renewable energy projects include the first it has been involved with in South America, India, and Poland. Once operational, Amazon's entire renewable energy portfolio will be capable of providing 50,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean energy, the company said, claiming this to be equivalent to the annual power consumption of 4.6 million US homes.

Adam Selipsky, CEO of operating division Amazon Web Services (AWS), said in a statement the company was on a path to reach 100 percent renewable energy across its entire business by 2025.

"We are bringing new wind and solar projects online to power our offices, fulfilment centers, datacenters and stores, which collectively serve millions of customers globally," he commented.

Amazon likes to push its green credentials, claiming to be the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy globally. This is supplied by a total of 379 renewable energy projects, 202 of which are in North America, 117 in Europe, 57 in the Asia-Pacific region, but just one apiece in the Middle East, Africa, and South America.

The announcement includes the company's first large-scale renewable projects in India, including three solar installations in Rajasthan, representing 420 megawatts of energy capacity.

Amazon's investment in Poland is claimed to be one of the largest corporate solar deals in the country so far, and the company said it is directly contributing to the Polish government's goal of increasing renewable energy on its grid.

The installation in Brazil is Amazon's first renewable energy project in South America, a 122MW solar farm that the company claimed will provide economic benefits to the local economy as well as providing renewable power to Amazon's operations in the region. Part of this is in the shape of a $380,000 investment in environmental programs during construction to protect and promote biodiversity.

Amazon is also working with the Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI), whose CEO Miranda Ballentine had warm words for the online souk.

"As a key leader in the clean energy buyer community, Amazon continues to demonstrate that when it commits to a vision, it drives a pace and scale that’s a new bar to follow," she said.

However, earlier this year the NewClimate Institute for Climate Policy and Global Sustainability published an analysis claiming the climate pledges of 25 of the world's largest companies, including Amazon, should not be taken at face value.

It stated that the headline pledges of Amazon, Deutsche Telekom, Enel, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Hitachi, IKEA, Vale, Volkswagen, and Walmart have "low integrity," and that many of these companies had in reality only committed to reducing their emissions by 40 percent on average, not 100 percent as suggested by their net zero and carbon neutral claims.

Last year, Amazon also drew ire for admitting that its carbon footprint had increased by 19 percent during 2020, although it tried to argue that its "carbon intensity" had fallen because the CO2 emissions had not increased as fast as its business had grown.

As The Reg pointed out at the time, the fact it polluted less per unit of activity didn't change the bottom line, "which is that they are polluting more this year than they did last year." ®

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