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Amazon Announces Largest Renewable Energy Project To Date

Amazon Web Services has announced its largest renewable energy project to date, a 208 MW wind farm that will supply current and future Amazon cloud data centers.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is responsible for hosting many of the internet’s most popular websites, where “the cloud” most assuredly meets the ground in one of thousands, if not millions of data centers around the world. AWS announced in November that it intends to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure, and in April 2015 AWS announced that approximately 25% of the power consumed by its global infrastructure was already being generated from renewable energy sources, and that it intends to increase that figure to 40% by the end of 2016.

Towards that goal, AWS announced on Monday a contract with Iberdrola Renewables to construct a 208 MW wind farm in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, North Carolina, called the Amazon Wind Farm US East.

Wind Farm US East is set to start generating 670,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind energy annually starting December 2016, which equates to approximately enough electricity to supply more than 61,000 US homes annually. However, instead of just powering homes, Wind Farm US East — the first utility-scale wind farm in the state of North Carolina — will generate electricity for both current and future AWS Cloud data centers.

“This agreement, and those previously in place, puts AWS on track to surpass our goal of 40 percent renewable energy globally by the end of 2016,” said Jerry Hunter, Vice President of Infrastructure at Amazon Web Services.

“We’re far from being done. We’ll continue pursuing projects that deliver clean energy to the various energy grids that serve AWS data centers, we’ll continue working with our power providers to increase their renewable energy quotient, and we’ll continue to strongly encourage our partners in government to extend the tax incentives that make it more viable for renewable projects to get off the ground.”

Recent concerns that Amazon is not taking its commitment to 100% renewable energy seriously enough miss the importance of decisions such as these. Amazon has committed to not only developing data centers in locations where renewable energy exists, but as seen in North Carolina, Amazon also intends to invest into building renewable energy where there has been none beforehand.

In January of this year, Amazon announced that it would be investing in a project to build the Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) in Benton County, Indiana, which is expected to generate 500,000 MWh of wind electricity each year. The Fowler Ridge project met financial close in May, and at the time was on schedule to begin construction in July. Siemens was also announced as the technology provider for the project.

Following that, in April, Amazon also announced a pilot project using Tesla energy storage batteries that they believe will “help bridge the gap between intermittent production, from sources like wind, and the datacenter’s constant power demand.”

“As a leading Internet platform and cloud services provider, Amazon continues to invest in renewable energy by supporting this wind farm in our great state,” said North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. “This kind of collaboration between Amazon and Iberdrola Renewables promotes North Carolina’s continued economic growth and highlights the importance of supporting the ongoing expansion of the technology sector in our state.”

 
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I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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