Why Amazon is going all in on renewables–and how it intends to use 100% clean energy by 2025

November 21, 2022, 6:49 PM UTC
The Amazon Fort Powhatan Solar Farm in Disputanta, Virginia. Amazon has pledged to use renewable energy for all its operations by 2030–but the company says it's on track to beat that goal.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images

With our country’s resources, history of innovation, and record of public and private sector collaboration, the United States can lead the world on the path toward reliable renewable energy. Modernizing the electric grid in the U.S. in conjunction with updated approaches to policy and regulation will help make that happen.

The Inflation Reduction Act passed and signed into law this summer is a major step forward, delivering a suite of clean energy policies that will help companies deploy more renewable energy at scale and build the critical infrastructure to support it. The new law represents the most significant federal investment in renewable energy and the most comprehensive effort to mitigate climate change in our nation’s history. It will accelerate a transition to renewable energy that is already underway and help lower costs for consumers.

We are proud to be a part of that overall transition to a cleaner economy. To date, Amazon has announced investments in 199 renewable energy projects across the United States, including 97 wind farms and solar farms and 102 onsite solar projects. Once all these projects are operational, they are expected to generate 32,740 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy each year–or the equivalent amount of power needed for 3 million U.S. homes. These projects are located on the grids where Amazon has operations to ensure a sustainable presence in the communities where we operate and generate significant economic development activity for states and local communities through new property tax revenues and job creation.

Amazon is the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy and is on a path to powering its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025–five years ahead of our original 2030 goal.

The challenge is big, and we need more corporate action to secure America’s clean energy future. The policies we champion in partnership with policymakers will have a ripple effect on improving our energy posture. The U.S. needs policies that improve how we develop our electrical grid at the pace needed to support these new investments.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is charged with developing the rules and regulations that govern the way organized electricity market segments in our country operate. The rules established by FERC are far-reaching and exist to enforce guardrails for the way regional grid operators integrate new generation resources to meet supply and demand commitments and ensure that customers are protected through fair and reasonable rates that pay for transmission infrastructure.

Today, FERC is leading the effort to modernize the electric grid and ensure more energy generation projects, including renewables, can be quickly deployed. With the scale of our renewable energy ambition and progress, it is important for Amazon and others to share their fresh perspective and innovative mindset with the commission. In particular, Amazon supports FERC’s proposal to require the incorporation of corporate energy commitments in long-term transmission planning to help integrate new renewable resources more efficiently, and we have encouraged FERC to quantify other benefits of expanded transmission infrastructure such as greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

We also continue to support efforts to advance policies accelerating the way new renewable energy resources are connected to the grid. Amazon has encouraged FERC to update the process by which wind, solar, and storage projects are more quickly integrated into the nation’s energy mix. We have also highlighted the opportunity presented by grid-enhancing technologies (GETs) that can unlock capacity and improve efficiencies on the existing system and complement the build-out of new transmission infrastructure. Just this month, AWS joined the American Council on Renewable Energy Grid Forum in Washington D.C. to share ways that technological advancements like cloud computing can help organized markets speed up their interconnection processes and lower costs for all customers. Policies like these will facilitate the deployment of clean energy across the country.

Deploying these technologies efficiently is paramount. FERC must issue strong final rules that both ensure clean energy is interconnected quickly and accelerate the build-out of a modern electric grid. We can’t let this opportunity pass us by, and we need to make sure our grid is equipped to fully take advantage of these developments. Customers across the country stand to benefit.

Shannon Kellogg is VP of public policy at AWS.

The opinions expressed in Fortune.com commentary pieces are solely the views of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Fortune.

More must-read commentary published by Fortune:

Our new weekly Impact Report newsletter will examine how ESG news and trends are shaping the roles and responsibilities of today’s executives—and how they can best navigate those challenges. Subscribe here.

Read More

Great ResignationClimate ChangeLeadershipInflationUkraine Invasion