Amazon to buy 14 solar and wind plants around the world in green push

Company's new acquisitions will generate 1.5 gigawatts of renewable energy and are located in different states of the US as well as in Canada, Finland and Spain

FILE PHOTO: Photovoltaic panels stand in front of the Amazon distribution centre in Bad Hersfeld September 22, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

E-commerce giant Amazon plans to buy 1.5 gigawatts of production capacity from 14 new solar and wind plants around the world, as it looks to power all of the company’s activities through renewable energy by 2025.

The new acquisitions boost Amazon's total renewable energy investments to 10 gigawatts of electricity production capacity – enough to power 2.5 million US homes. The plants are located in different states of the US as well as in Canada, Finland and Spain, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We’re driving hard to fulfill The Climate Pledge, our commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and chief executive, said.

“Our investments in wind and solar energy in the US and around the world send a signal that investing in green technologies is the right thing to do for the planet and citizens – as well as for the long-term success of businesses of all sizes across all industries everywhere.”

The world's largest online retailer did not reveal the size of the investment, but said the new projects support “hundreds of jobs, while providing hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in local communities”.

Technology companies are increasingly investing in renewable energy as they look to cut emissions to protect the environment as the discourse around sustainability took centre stage during the pandemic and governments accelerate initiatives to meet Paris Agreement goals. Facebook, Google and Microsoft have also announced their commitments towards clean energy.

Of the total 14 projects Amazon plans to buy, 11 are based in the US, including the first solar projects in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. The other projects are the largest solar farm in Canada, Amazon’s first renewable energy project in Finland, and the company’s fifth project in Spain.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that corporations such as Amazon see solar and other renewable resources as the path forward to meet their energy and business needs, and we stand ready to support Amazon and other companies of all sizes in their decisions to go solar,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a non-profit body.

In Canada, Amazon is launching a 375-megawatt solar farm that will be the company’s second in Alberta. When it comes online in 2022, the farm will bring Amazon’s capacity in Canada to more than 1 million megawatt hours, enough to power more than 100,000 Canadian homes.

Amazon’s project in Finland is also expected to begin operations in 2022. Located on the country’s west coast, the project has a total capacity of 52 megawatts.

The project in Spain, which has a total capacity of 152 megawatts, will start production in 2023. This will be the company’s fifth project in the country.

“The utility-scale solar and wind projects will supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centres, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centres that support millions of customers around the world,” Amazon said.

Amazon and Global Optimism co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019, a commitment to reach the Paris Agreement 10 years early and be net-zero carbon by 2040. The Pledge now has 108 signatories, including IBM, Unilever, PepsiCo, Visa, Verizon, Siemens, Microsoft and Best Buy.

Amazon is also taking other measures to cut emissions. It is purchasing 100,000 electric delivery vehicles and investing $2 billion in the development of decarbonising services and solutions through the Climate Pledge Fund.

Earlier this year, Amazon said it will buy half of the energy produced by a huge offshore windfarm in the Netherlands to power its European operations. That agreement accelerates Amazon's pledge to operate on 100 per cent renewables by 2025, five years earlier than the previous 2030 target.