Amazon - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  December 2, 2016

Amazon VP talks green data centers at Vegas event

Amazon Web Services is set to beat this year's goal of powering its operations with 40% renewable energy, an executive from the Inc. subsidiary announced Nov. 29. 

Speaking at AWS's re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, the cloud computing unit's Vice President and distinguished engineer James Hamilton discussed the process and strategy of securing enough green power to reach the company's larger goal of using 100% renewable energy for the global AWS infrastructure footprint. He also said the company will be at 45% by the end of 2016 — besting its target of 40% — and reiterated its plans to achieve 50% by the end of 2017. 

Hamilton said while AWS knows exactly how to get to 100% even quicker, customer preferences regarding where their data is physically stored, and challenges associated with procuring renewable energy in certain regions, make the process trickier. 

"There are many, many reasons to put data centers in different places, and it is just a fact that some of the places where customers want to put data today aren't the cleanest power locations in the entire world," he said. "We are signing up for a challenge because we have to make it right everywhere, and we are not going to do that by removing choice from customers. We are going to do both, because that's the way it is at Amazon."

Most recently, AWS announced it signed a power purchase agreement for capacity from a 189-MW wind farm being developed in Ohio, representing its fourth U.S. wind PPA. Hamilton said in total, the company is delivering about 2.6 million MWh annually of green power. 

Hamilton's full talk can be viewed below; his comments about AWS's renewable energy strategy begin about one hour and 28 minutes in. 


Tags: Amazon

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