Hundreds of thousands of people have asked Amazon.com to join Google, Apple, Facebook and other tech companies to lead the way to building us a green Internet, powered 100% by renewable energy.
We’re excited to say that Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, seems to be getting the message. Yesterday, Amazon Web Services updated its sustainability web page with a note that the company “has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint.”
The statement represents a potential breakthrough in the effort to build a green Internet.
Amazon Web Services, a division of Amazon.com, is the world’s largest public cloud computing company. When you stream movies through Netflix, peruse photos on Pinterest, read reviews on Yelp, book a place on AirBnB, or post a link on Reddit: all of that data is being shuttled and stored in data centers owned and operated by Amazon Web Services. According to one 2012 study, one third of all Internet users visit a web site based on Amazon’s infrastructure every day.
Amazon’s data centers consume massive amounts of electricity, and they’re proliferating incredibly quickly, which is why today’s news is so crucial and promising. A renewably powered Amazon Web Services could be a catalyst for clean energy growth around the world, a hero in the effort to build the modern economy, powered by 100% renewable energy, that is so urgently needed to address climate change.
However, Amazon’s customers will need more information so that we can trust that AWS means business when it says it is committing to 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% renewable energy.
Amazon has not offered that kind of road map yet, and it has some work to do to catch up. As an example of putting its money where its mouth is, Google announced just yesterday that it has inked another renewable energy deal, its eighth of such purchase, to power its most recent data center in Eemshaven, Netherlands, via electricity from a new wind farm just 20 km away. The purchase ensures that the facility will be powered by 100% renewable energy when it opens in 2016.