Amazon has invested in more than 78 new solar and wind energy projects in 2023, including a new brownfield solar farm, multiple developments in the Asia-Pacific region, and projects in areas dependent on fossil fuels.
With a total of some 479 wind and solar projects across the world, the company expects to generate over 71,900 gigawatt hours of clean energy annually, or the equivalent of powering 6.7 million homes in the United States. Amazon said its goal is to power operations, including data centers, fulfillment centers, stores, and corporate offices, completely with renewable energy by 2025.
According to Bloomberg NEF, Amazon has purchased more renewable energy than any other company.
“Amazon’s renewable energy investments continue to bring new solar and wind projects to market at a rapid pace and cement the company as a global leader in this space,” said Kyle Harrison, head of sustainability research at BloombergNEF. “Despite supply chain challenges, infrastructure hurdles, and rising prices over the past year, Amazon’s continued renewable commitments demonstrate how a corporation can help accelerate society’s transition to a clean energy future.”
New Brownfield Project in Maryland, Development in Asia-Pacific Region
Amazon’s first brownfield project, or development on land abandoned due to industrial pollution, is taking place in Maryland. The project includes the installation of a solar farm on a site that recently closed the Arch Coal Mine in Garrett County, Maryland. The new solar project is expected to avoid over 133,000 tons of emissions each year.
Brownfields, which may include abandoned factories, mines, or landfills, present an opportunity for new solar projects, especially since they are often located near power lines.
The EPA estimates that 450,000 brownfields currently exist in the U.S., and companies are beginning to find benefits in redeveloping these sites. For example, the Department of Transportation recently provided funding for an offshore wind project that will be built where the world’s largest steel mill once operated, also in Maryland. Converting old industrial sites into renewable energy projects has been found to save on construction costs and allow for faster, cheaper deployment of renewable installations.
Amazon has also announced its first renewable project in South Korea, one of its 13 new clean energy projects in the Asia-Pacific region. The company is also reportedly now the largest corporate purchaser of renewables in India, with over 1.1 GW of capacity in the country.
Scaling Clean Energy in Fossil Fuel-Reliant, Low Employment Regions
Amazon has also focused efforts to bring renewable projects to areas highly dependent on fossil fuels as well as regions facing low employment rates.
Construction of its wind farm in Brazil was able to bring an estimated 500 jobs to workers from local communities in the Rio Grande de Norte region. The company has also brought a utility-scale renewables project to Greece, which is traditionally heavily dependent on fossil fuels.
The U.S. Treasury Department and IRS updated guidance this year regarding tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act, encouraging companies to take on clean energy projects in communities dependent on fossil fuel energy, including areas with brownfield sites.