Amazon Committing To 100% Renewable Energy For Cloud Infrastructure

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Amazon’s cloud infrastructure — now known as Amazon Web Services (AWS) — will eventually be powered entirely by renewable energy, according to a recent press release from the company. Notably, AWS doesn’t just support, but also Netflix, Pinterest, Reddit, AirBnB, and many other sites. “According to one 2012 study, one third of all Internet users visit a web site based on Amazon’s infrastructure every day,” we reported recently.

The new commitment to being powered 100% by renewable energy is all well and good of course, but as of now, there’s no timeline set for the achievement of the goal, so it’s hard to tell exactly how serious the company is.

As compared to many of the other internet/tech giants of today, Amazon hasn’t really seemed to embrace renewable energy. Also, Greenpeace has been putting on the pressure. So, the new move isn’t that surprising. It seems an effective enough means of addressing the company’s image in that regard — a bit of “greenwashing” if you will. Hopefully, the pledge leads to real concrete action, though, and if it does, then I guess that amounts to more than just greenwashing.

According to Greenpeace, AWS currently receives “only” around 15% of its electricity needs via renewable energy — and is also one of the “least transparent” of all of the company’s evaluated by the organization.

The exact quote from Amazon with regard to the new goal is that it now has “a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint.”

As stated before, that’s a rather vague statement. But better than nothing, I guess. Publicly announcing the goal without taking any concrete actions within the near-future, though, could generate a bit of backlash against the company.

Given Apple’s rather fast adoption of renewables (the company is now powered 100% by renewable energy), the potential for fast changes is certainly there.

Image Credit: Nic Taylor (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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