Amazon grows its renewable energy portfolio with new offshore wind project

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On December 10, 2020, Amazon became the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, and they continue to move quickly to power its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy. When Amazon launched the Climate Pledge, it set a goal to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. With this latest investment the company believe they are on a path to reach this goal by 2025.

The latest renewable energy investment, the Amazon-Shell HKN Offshore Wind Project, is Amazon’s largest single-site renewable energy project to date. The offshore wind farm is operated by the Crosswind Consortium, a joint venture between energy companies Shell and Eneco. It is scheduled for operation by 2024 and will have an overall capacity of 759 MW that will supply the electrical grid powering the Netherlands without government subsidies. Amazon is purchasing over 50 per cent of that capacity, a total of 380 MW, to power its operations in Europe with its investment enabling the development of this large-scale, innovative wind project.

More than just a wind farm

The consortium plans to have Hollandse Kust (noord) operational in 2023 with an installed capacity of 759 MW, generating at least 3.3 TWh per year. This is enough renewable power to supply more than 1 million Dutch households with green electricity. The wind farm will be located 18.5 kilometres off the coast of The Netherlands near the town of Egmond aan Zee.

Offshore wind projects produce intermittent electricity. Balancing these dips and peaks and integrating this electricity into the national energy system requires new technologies. That is why the offshore wind farm will include the following five technology demonstrations that could be implemented at full-scale in the future: a floating solar park; short-term battery storage; turbines that are optimally tuned to the network to minimise the negative ‘wake’-effects that wind turbines have on each other; ‘green hydrogen’ made by electrolysis as a further storage technique and the combination of these individual measures to ensure a continuous power supply regardless of the wind situation.

Working together is crucial for the transition to a cleaner energy system across Europe and within each country. For this reason, the CrossWind team intends to work closely with universities and scientific institutions to develop further technical innovations; sharing the lessons learned from developing this wind farm with a broad audience – varying from the academic world to the public.

“We are proud to realise Hollandse Kust (noord) together with our joint venture partner, Eneco. Offshore wind will play a pivotal role in the worldwide energy transition,” Maarten Wetselaar, director of Shell Integrated Gas and New Energies, commented. “It will also be another important next step in our ambition to become a net-zero emission energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society. This wind farm is a crucial part of a new value chain – from wind to hydrogen – with our ambition to build a green hydrogen plant in Rotterdam and with NortH2. This investment fits very well with Shell’s aspirations to competitively deliver more and cleaner energy to our customers, at home, on the go and at work.”

Kees-Jan Rameau, Chief Strategic Growth Officer Eneco, added that the project is another major contribution to the Dutch energy transition. “We are using our combined experience, expertise and financial capacity for the rapid realisation of the first offshore innovative wind farm focused on system integration. The sustainable, locally generated energy will make an important contribution to our ambition to support every household and company in the Netherlands to switch to a sustainable and clean energy supply.”

About Amazon’s Climate Pledge
In 2019, Amazon and Global Optimism co-founded The Climate Pledge, a commitment to reach the Paris Agreement 10 years early and be net-zero carbon by 2040.

Significant investments in renewable energy are a critical step to reduce Amazon’s carbon footprint globally. With 187 solar and wind projects worldwide, Amazon is the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. These projects have the capacity to generate over 6.9 GW and deliver more than 20 million MWh of energy annually. They include 62 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 125 solar rooftops on fulfilment centres and sort centres around the globe.

Across Europe, these investments include 20 solar rooftops atop Amazon fulfilment centres and 16 utility-scale wind and solar projects in Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Sweden. This is Amazon’s second offshore wind project.

Other clean energy investments include the new Tallaght District Heating Scheme near Dublin, Ireland, which will provide heat recycled from the recently completed AWS data centre to public sector, residential, and commercial customers.

In the UK, last year Amazon also unveiled the largest solar panel installation on any Amazon site across Europe. Equivalent to 28 football pitches, the building has been fitted with more than 11,500 module solar panels which generate enough electricity to power 700 homes for one year.

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