ICT and Big Data
Amazon Announces 'Long-Term Commitment' to Switch to 100% Renewable Energy

After ongoing criticism from organizations such as Greenpeace for continuing to run on ‘dirty power,’ Amazon this week announced a “long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint.”

The world’s largest cloud-computing company said that its Web Services segment — which provides IT infrastructure to Internet heavyweights including Netflix, Spotify and Pinterest — will aim to be powered by 100 percent renewables, but didn’t set a deadline for achieving that goal.

Greenpeace — whose Andrew Hatton, head of IT for Greenpeace UK, called the company out for being the worst of the ‘laggards’ at the SB ’14 London conference earlier this month — is working to push IT companies to transition to powering their data centers with renewable energy in an effort to create a “Green Internet.” The organization’s recent Clicking Clean report and subsequent #ClickClean campaign have heralded companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple for leading the charge in this area, and highlighted Amazon’s inaction in relation to its competitors. And Greenpeace was admittedly skeptical at Amazon’s announcement last month about its latest carbon-neutral data center in Frankfurt. According to the Clicking Clean report, Amazon Web Services uses 15 percent clean energy — much less than Google, Facebook and Microsoft — though Amazon has disputed the accuracy of the report.

In response to this week’s 100 percent renewable energy commitment, Greenpeace Senior IT Campaigner Gary Cook said: “Amazon Web Services’ new commitment to power its operations with 100 percent renewable energy represents a potential breakthrough toward building a green Internet. With the world's largest public cloud apparently joining Apple, Google, Facebook and others in committing to power with 100 percent renewable energy, the race to build a green Internet may be gaining a crucial new competitor.

“However, Amazon’s customers will need more information to be sure that AWS means business about renewable energy. AWS should offer a plan for how it will implement its ambitious new commitment across its footprint. Apple, Facebook and Google, three of Amazon’s peers and rivals, all have laid out road maps that explain how they intend to achieve their goals of procuring 100 percent renewable energy.”

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