AWS pledges to run entirely on renewable energy

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Inc. updated its sustainability page this week with the following statement: “AWS has a long term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for global infrastructure footprint.”
Although vague, AWS did not provide a time frame. The announcement places the company among tech giants like Google Inc. or Apple Inc. and signals a marked shift in AWS’ energy policies, which have been repeatedly criticised.
Three of the 11 AWS regions (including the newly opened Frankfurt datacenter) are carbon-neutral. AWS is the largest cloud provider by a wide margin. However, AWS was a notable omission from the list of high-profile cloud companies like Google, Apple, Box and Rackspace Inc. that have publicly committed to renewable energy.
Greenpeace Inc. gave AWS failing marks in its April 2014 report (PDF), on green energy use among top cloud providers. The report focused on energy transparency, policy efficiency, deployment, and policy. AWS was deemed “among the dirtiest companies in the sector” by Greenpeace Inc., which placed it far behind its major competitors. AWS also failed to report its energy footprint or environmental footprint to any source or stakeholder.
Greenpeace called Wednesday’s AWS pledge “a potential breakthrough”
“Amazon’s datacenters use massive amounts of electricity and they’re growing incredibly fast, which is why today’s news is so crucially important and promising,” said David Pomerantz, Greenpeace media officer. “An Amazon Web Services that is powered by renewable energy could be a powerful catalyst for clean energy growth in the world. It would also help to address climate change.
Greenpeace, however, criticized the AWS announcement for not providing enough detail. It also noted that the company hasn’t provided a roadmap to achieve its renewable energy goals. Pomerantz stated that Amazon should provide a detailed snapshot and commit to regular updates of its energy and greenhouse gas footprint.
Greenpeace also highlighted the AWS Virginia datacenter as being particularly “dirty”, with the majority of its electricity coming mainly from natural gas, nuclear power, and coal. The group called on AWS to press Virginia’s utility company to use more renewable energy sources.

Author: Victoria