Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, is no stranger to disruptive technology. The brand built its name by revolutionising e-commerce and defined the smart device movement. But its latest tech venture is in sustainable power. Amazon’s renewable energy investments are reaching new heights.
In 2019, Amazon announced that it aims to run entirely on renewables by 2030. By mid-2020, it adjusted that goal, claiming it’s on track to achieve it by 2025. That’s an impressive statement, considering how massive a company Amazon is, with fulfilment centres across the globe.
A company of Amazon’s size consumes a remarkable amount of electricity. As 2025 draws nearer, the e-commerce giant has little time to switch to renewables. Here’s how Amazon is making it happen.
Record-Breaking Renewable Energy Projects
Amazon’s renewable energy goals are lofty, so it’s had to take some significant strides to pursue them. In late 2019, the company launched the largest corporate wind power purchase in the U.K. This project, a wind farm in Kintyre Peninsula, Scotland, will generate 168,000 megawatt-hours of energy annually, enough to power 46,000 homes.
This wind farm isn’t the only record-breaking renewable energy project Amazon has started. In December 2020, Amazon became the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable power after adding 26 utility-scale projects. These solar and wind projects will raise the company’s sustainable power capacity to 6.5 gigawatts, supplying 18 million megawatt-hours annually.
Since Amazon consumes so much power, it can’t generate enough on its own yet. To help reach its goals, the company has partnered with Shell to supplement its renewable energy efforts. Shell will provide power from an offshore wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands, helping both Amazon and the company’s own sustainability goals.
Amazon’s Other Investments in Renewable Energy
Amazon’s renewable energy investments include more than generating clean power for its operations. They also cover funding for other businesses that provide sustainable power services or technologies. Since regulations can make it challenging for energy companies to expand, these funds can be of significant help to smaller renewable energy businesses.
Investing in other renewable technology developers can also help Amazon find new solutions to its energy problems. Supporting research in the area can lead to new technologies and services that would make large-scale renewable energy more viable. Amazon would then have a better chance at meeting its goals in time.
Since deliveries are a central part of Amazon’s business model, the retailer has also pursued zero-emissions vehicles. Its first fleet of electric vans started making deliveries in early 2021, with hopes to have 10,000 in service by 2022. This movement will help ensure Amazon’s vehicles don’t generate enough emissions to counter their renewable energy projects.
How Will This Impact Energy and Technology in the U.K.?
This shift towards sustainability could impact the overall energy and technology sectors in the U.K. Amazon is the world’s leading cloud service provider, accounting for 32% of the global cloud market. Consequently, when its data centres run on green energy, the U.K. companies that rely on them will become more sustainable.
Since so many services rely on Amazon’s data centres, its renewable infrastructure must be reliable. Any disruptions or malfunctions could jeopardize the cloud processes of U.K. businesses. In light of these potential consequences, Amazon has to ensure its wind and solar projects will provide constant, sufficient service.
As Amazon shifts to renewable energy, it could inspire other U.K. companies to do the same. If a business as massive and energy-intensive as Amazon can run on renewables, a smaller business could too. The success of Amazon’s renewable energy projects could start a clean power revolution among U.K. companies.
Amazon’s Renewable Energy Goals Are Bold but Not Impossible
Relying on sustainable energy can seem like an intimidating goal for any company. A business as large as Amazon aiming for 100% renewable power in just a few years is a loftier goal than most. As the retailer increases its green energy projects, though, it seems increasingly likely they’ll reach these high aspirations.
Amazon is proving that, with enough commitment, reaching net-zero emissions is possible, and not just in the future. Any U.K. business could start pursuing renewable energy today and become entirely green before long. It will take work, but it’s not impossible.