Amazon has announced 14 new projects using renewable energy to offset and/or reduce their emissions.  The projects are spread across locations in the US, Canada, Spain, and Finland with the objective to accelerate the fulfillment of The Climate Pledge ahead of schedule. It positions Amazon as the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy.

The projects mainly include wind and solar energy in the American Midwest as well as a solar farm in Alberta, Canada. A fifth solar project in Spain as well as their first Finnish project – a wind farm – round out the plans.

The Climate Pledge is an Amazon-initiated commitment to meet criteria for the Paris Climate Agreement 10 years earlier than the official 2050 goal. But Amazon is going even further with the renewable energy projects, aiming to power all of the company activities with completely renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of their own prescribed schedule.

Currently, Amazon’s project investments produce enough electricity to power roughly 2.5 million US homes or approximately 10 gigawatts of electricity.

These 14 projects are being implemented to “supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers that support millions of customers globally.”

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in the press release, “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. Our investments in wind and solar energy in the U.S. 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.”

Investing in an electric future

Be it solar, wind, or hydro-powered, Amazon seems to be in tune with the benefits of electrification. President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Abigail Ross Hopper said, “Amazon’s commitment to clean energy is highly commendable, and it is the type of investment that we need to see more of to meet the world’s critical energy and climate needs.

“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.”

Amazon has begun integrating electrification into its fleet of delivery vehicles this year. As part of their Climate Pledge, Amazon plans to have 100,000 electric-powered delivery vehicles on the road by 2030, built and powered by Rivian’s all-electric platform. They’ve been seen in Denver, Tulsa, and San Diego with many more cities coming this year.

A step toward correcting a major problem

The world’s largest online marketplace has been derided in the past for obscene emissions rates as high as 51.17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019, and likely higher in 2020 as online retail exploded in popularity during the pandemic. 2019 figures represent a 15% increase over 2018.

Comparatively, 51.17 million metric tons of CO2 is roughly equivalent to 13 coal-burning plants operating for a full year. That’s a lot of emissions to offset or reduce.

But despite the extremely high rate of emissions that has continued to climb, Amazon is committed to neutralizing its environmental effect. The ambitious target of 2025 seems implausible but with Amazon’s valuation and Bezos’ personal fortune, achieving The Climate Pledge goals just might be possible.

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