Amazon's 100 Percent Renewable Pledge is Good for the Environment and Great for Business
Amazon is finally jumping on the 100 percent renewable bandwagon, joining companies such as Google and Apple who have vowed to make the data arms of their businesses run on entirely renewable energy.
“Cloud computing is inherently more environmentally friendly than traditional computing,” Amazon Web Services (AWS) wrote in a blog post. “Today, individual companies often operate one or many corporate datacenters to meet their internal IT requirements. Even with broad adoption of virtualization technology, most enterprises still struggle to achieve high utilization rates for their data center infrastructure. The result is a significant amount of unused server capacity and wasted energy consumption to power all of this unused or underutilized infrastructure.”
The company is touting their highly-efficient servers and advanced infrastructure as leading the way toward this goal. Still, this isn’t a change that’s going to happen overnight.
“Like other companies committing to switch to 100 percent renewable power, Amazon will likely take many years to complete the transition,” Klint Finley wrote for Wired. “Facebook, for example, estimated in 2012 that it would actually increase its use of non-renewable energy over the next year, even as it adds more renewable power to the mix. The company estimated that only 25 percent of its power would come from renewable sources by 2015.”
Even if it takes a while, this is a great business move for Amazon both from a public relations standpoint and from a pure monetary one.
Greenpeace, who has been critical of Amazon in the past for not committing to green energy usage, praised the decision. The organization’s IT analyst Gary Cook called Amazon a “crucial new competitor” in the race to build a greener internet. There’s room to grow still, though, as Greenpeace is still calling for Amazon to be more transparent in its disclosing of its energy usage.
From a business standpoint, this is almost a sure-shot for Amazon. With green energy prices–specifically solar–falling faster than ever, powering its data centers will cost less than ever before. According to a report from the Climate Policy Initiative, in 2013, it cost $40 billion less to achieve the same level of solar deployment as 2012.
While this is actually rather mixed news, as it also shows that investment in renewable is down across the board, with more companies such as Amazon getting on board with 100 percent renewable goals, the investments could once again start coming in.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.