Amazon is committing to offtake the power from two renewable energy projects in Ireland. This forms part of our long-term goal to power all Amazon Web Services (AWS) global infrastructure with renewable energy. The new projects, in Esk, County Cork and Meenbog, County Donegal, will together deliver 114.4MW of renewable energy to the Irish grid by 2021, writes Kenneth Matthews, Head of Energy (EMEA), Amazon Web Services.
What makes these wind farms different, from all the other wind farms in operation around Ireland, is that they will be built and operated without any form of public subsidy, so there is no cost to Ireland’s energy consumers in developing or operating them. This is a first for Ireland and demonstrates that wind is a viable, cost effective energy source that can now be delivered at market prices.
Under EU Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC), Ireland has committed to 40 per cent renewable electricity production by 2020. Developing the wind industry to address this increasing demand has required public funding and support. This public support comes from the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy, where a guaranteed minimum price is offered to wind farms to give them long term financial stability. The PSO appears as a line item on every energy bill in the country. It has been essential to allow the energy industry to develop wind technology, to grow and become competitive enough to challenge fossil fuels, giving Ireland the ability to meet its renewable electricity targets.
The investments in Cork and Donegal, where Amazon is committing to offtake 100 per cent of the energy, will enable these wind farms to be built, and helps to deliver on Ireland’s recently announced Climate Action Plan, which sets the road map for government policies on climate change. The Climate Action Plan calls for 15 per cent of the 70 per cent of electricity demand by renewable sources to be contracted under deals such as these, known as Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPA).
One important benefit to Ireland is that the 23.2 MW Cork wind farm will deliver power from September next year, supporting Ireland’s 2020 renewable energy targets. The 91.2 MW wind farm in Donegal is expected to deliver clean energy to the grid in early 2021 and will contribute to meeting Ireland’s ambitious 2030 target.
While these investments in Ireland are a first of a kind, Amazon has delivered wind and solar projects to support its operations since 2014. These two new projects bring the total number of solar and wind projects Amazon has enabled around the world to 66, with more to come across EMEA and globally.
Beyond investments in wind and solar, Amazon has a long history of commitment to sustainability through innovative programs such as Shipment Zero, Frustration-Free Packaging, Ships in Own Container, investments in the circular economy with the Closed Loop Fund, and numerous other initiatives happening every day by teams across Amazon. Amazon has also implemented the District Energy Project that uses recycled energy to heat and cool more than three million square feet of office space. Amazon is putting our inventive culture to work on sustainability, because it’s great for our customers, our communities, our business, and the planet.
AWS in Ireland
Our presence in Ireland has grown significantly in recent years with a new HQ building and a commitment to hire 1,000 additional highly skilled people bringing our total employment number to 2,500 and we don’t intend to stop there. The wind farm projects in Cork and Donegal are only the latest in a long series of investments in Ireland to ensure that as we expand, we are focused on sustainability. The energy from these wind farms will help power our extensive cloud infrastructure around the world. It will deliver new energy efficiency gains as organisations shut down their inefficient on-premises servers and transfer to the cloud, which is far more energy efficient.
For more information on Amazon’s sustainability initiatives, visit www.amazon.com/sustainability