Donegal wind farm to power the Amazon Web Services cloud

8 Apr 2019828 Views

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Amazon commits to energy deals in Ireland, Sweden and US as it hurtles towards 100pc renewable energy goal.

Internet juggernaut Amazon Web Services (AWS) has committed to buying the energy from a 91.2MW wind farm in Donegal.

The project, one of three including Sweden and the US, is part of a global strategy to power all AWS cloud infrastructure around the world with renewable energy.

Globally, these projects will deliver wind-generated energy that will total more than 229 megawatts (MW) of power, with expected generation of more than 670,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually.

Amazon has made a long-term commitment to achieve 100pc renewable energy for its global cloud infrastructure and last year it exceeded the 50pc mark.

Greening of the clouds

The Donegal wind farm project, which will be developed by Invis Energy, is expected to deliver clean energy no later than the end of 2021.

The wind farm in Donegal will be built without any subsidies – therefore, the project is not subject to the public service obligation levy and will be undertaken at no cost to the Irish energy consumer. As such, Amazon says it is the first unsubsidised Corporate Power Purchase Agreement project in Ireland.

Amazon will also purchase 91MW of power from a new wind farm in Bäckhammar, Sweden, which is expected to deliver renewable energy by the end of 2020. Meanwhile the wind farm project in Tehachapi, California, is expected to bring up to 47MW of new renewable energy capacity by the end of 2020.

Once complete, these projects, combined with AWS’s previous nine renewable energy projects, are expected to generate more than 2,700,000MWh of renewable energy annually.

“Each of these projects brings us closer to our long-term commitment to use 100pc renewable energy to power our global AWS infrastructure,” said Peter DeSantis, vice-president of global infrastructure and customer support at AWS.

“These projects are well positioned to serve AWS data centres in Ireland, Sweden and the US. We expect more projects in 2019 as we continue toward our goal of powering all AWS global infrastructure with renewable energy.”

The decision by Amazon to acquire the wind energy from the Donegal wind farm was welcomed by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, TD. “AWS’s investment in renewable projects in Ireland illustrates their continued commitment to adding clean energy to the grid and it will make a positive contribution to Ireland’s renewable energy goals,” he said.

“As a significant employer in Ireland, it is very encouraging to see Amazon taking a lead on this issue.”

Last year Amazon revealed plans to create 1,000 new jobs in Ireland, bringing its Irish workforce headcount to 3,500 people.

Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, TD, said that by 2030, more than 70pc of Ireland’s electricity will come from renewable sources. “Today that figure is at 30pc. We must step up our ambition across the board.”

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com