Ørsted opens Antrim wind farm to supply Amazon

12 Oct 2023

The Ballykeel wind farm in Antrim. Image: Ørsted

The Ballykeel wind farm will supply Amazon with 16MW of renewable energy, under one of the many purchase agreements between the tech giant and Ørsted.

Ørsted, the Danish-headquartered energy company, has opened a new wind farm in Northern Ireland as part of a power purchase agreement with Amazon.

This 16MW site in Ballykeel, Co Antrim, will generate renewable energy from seven turbines. Ørsted claims this is the Northern Ireland’s first renewable energy project to be enabled by a corporate power purchase agreement (CPPA). A CPPA is when a business agrees to purchase electricity directly from an energy generator in a long-term supply contract.

The Ballykeel onshore windfarm site was acquired by Ørsted in June 2021 and the company revealed details of the Amazon deal last year.

The wind farm is part of a broader agreement between Ørsted and Amazon, as the energy company has also signed CPPAs for an offshore wind farm in Germany, an onshore wind farm in Scotland and an onshore wind farm in Texas.

TJ Hunter, the senior director of development and operations for Ørsted UK and Ireland, said the deal demonstrates the “important role” companies play in adding clean energy to the grid.

The tech giant said it aims to power its global operations with 100pc renewable energy by 2025 and said it reached 90c last year. It also has multiple data centres across Ireland, which is a sector that continues to take up more of the country’s energy grid.

“Wind energy plays a critical role in decarbonising both Amazon’s operations and the Irish grid, and we’re proud to invest in renewable energy projects like the Amazon Wind Farm Northern Ireland – Ballykeel,” said Lindsay McQuade, Amazon EMEA director of energy.

“Projects like Ballykeel and more than 400 other wind and solar projects around the world will help us on our path to reach 100pc by 2025.”

Earlier this year, Amazon quietly removed its ‘Shipment Zero’ initiative, in which the company pledged to make half of its shipments carbon neutral by 2030. The company said it no longer made sense to have the Shipment Zero goal as it only applied to “one part of our business”.

Amazon claims to have a broader goal of reaching net-zero carbon across its operations by 2040.

Ørsted is heavily involved in wind energy. In 2021, the company acquired a 100pc equity stake in Brookfield Renewable Ireland as part of its strategy to turn its focus towards the European wind market.

The company also has investments in the solar energy sector. Last month, Ørsted teamed up with renewable energy developer Terra Solar to develop a new portfolio of solar projects in Ireland. The total capacity of these projects is expected to be 400MW upon completion.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic