Amazon Backing Solar Farm in Virginia
The online retail giant announced Tuesday it’s helping the building and operation of a $150 million, 80 megawatt solar farm in the state of Virginia. It partnered with Community Energy Inc. It’s scheduled to be completed and in operation by Oct. 2016 in Accomack County on the state’s eastern shore.
The farm will power up 15,000 U.S. homes, or 170,000 megawatt hours, every year. But the main purpose for the company’s involvement is its cloud data centers. Amazon will use the energy to power its Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers in eastern and central U.S.
The Old Dominion is pleased to have such an investment in its state.
“Amazon’s new solar project will create good jobs on the Eastern Shore and generate more clean, renewable energy to fuel the new Virginia economy,” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Amazon and Accomack to get this project online as we continue our efforts to make Virginia a global leader in the renewable energy sector.”
As part of an announcement last year, Amazon’s aim is to entirely use renewable energy. The company says a quarter of its energy today is already coming from renewable sources.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has ventured into renewable energy.
Earlier this year, it announced intentions to construct a wind farm in Indiana. This farm will generate 500,000 megawatt hours of wind power a year. AWS data centers in central and eastern U.S. will benefit from this energy.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, reported that AWS is a $5 billion business, and continues to grow.
Amazon Appeasing Environmental Organizations?
Why the push for green energy? Some say it’s because Amazon has been criticized by environmental advocacy groups like Greenpeace. The organization claimed Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) had given more information on their energy consumption and aims.
Amazon wrote in a blog post that its cloud-computing clients use fewer servers and a lower amount of energy when businesses operate their own data centers. It also highlighted its end of 2016 goal of having 40 percent of its infrastructure powered by green energy sources.
“We continue to make significant progress towards our long-term commitment to power the global AWS infrastructure with 100 percent renewable energy,” said Jerry Hunter, AWS vice president of infrastructure, in a statement Wednesday.
Greenpeace Lauds Apple’s ‘Aggressive‘ Green Energy Push
Greenpeace placed Apple at the top of tech companies when it comes to renewable energy efforts. According to its “Clicking Clean: A Guide to Building the Green Internet”, Apple has been the most aggressive tech giant regarding green energy initiatives.
Here is what Greenpeace said in a statement about Apple:
“Apple continues to lead the charge in powering its corner of the internet with renewable energy even as it continues to rapidly expand. All three of its data center expansions announced in the past year will be powered with renewable energy. Apple is also having a positive impact on pushing major colocation providers to help it maintain progress toward its 100% renewable energy goal.”
Apple announced last month of new environmental projects in China, such as a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and solar projects to power the country’s manufacturing sector with green energy.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports there will be an installation of nearly nine gigawatts of solar capacity in the U.S. this year. This is just behind China and Japan.