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AWS plans renewable energy project in Australia

AWS’s renewable energy project in Australia is one of six projects that the cloud supplier is spearheading to reduce its global carbon footprint

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is planning its first renewable power project outside Europe and the US in Australia, in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint across the globe.

The Australian project, announced at AWS re:Invent 2019 in Las Vegas, is one of six new renewable energy projects that the cloud supplier is spearheading to produce a total 711MW of new renewable energy capacity.

AWS has a long-term goal to use 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030 across its datacentres. It also hopes to achieve a net zero carbon footprint by 2040.

Paul Migliorini, managing director for AWS in Australia and New Zealand, said the company will provide more details about the Australian project in due course.

“AWS is committed to running our business in the most environmentally friendly way possible, and our scale allows us to achieve higher resource utilisation and energy efficiency than the typical on-premise datacentre,” he added.

Citing a recent study by 451 Research, Migliorini said AWS’s infrastructure is 3.6 times more energy efficient than the median of surveyed enterprise datacentres, with over two-thirds of this advantage stemming from more energy-efficient servers and higher utilisation rates.

AWS’s datacentres are also more energy efficient than enterprise sites due to the comprehensive efficiency programmes that touch every facet of its facilities, Migliorini said.

“When they factored in the carbon intensity of consumed electricity and renewable energy purchases, 451 found that AWS performs the same task with an 88% lower carbon footprint.

“In addition to the environmental benefits inherently associated with running applications in the cloud, AWS exceeded 50% renewable energy usage for 2018. Globally, Amazon has over 70 renewable energy projects that have the capacity to generate over 1,900MW and deliver more than 5.3 million MWh of energy annually.”

AWS’s renewable energy efforts in Australia follow similar initiatives by cloud suppliers and large enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region in a bid to do their part for the environment.

Read more about datacentre energy efficiency

In March 2018, Microsoft said it was tapping solar energy generated by solar panels installed on hundreds of rooftops across Singapore to power its datacentre operations, creating the single-largest solar energy project in the city-state.

Through a 20-year agreement with solar energy provider Sunseap Group, Microsoft would purchase 100% of the renewable energy from the solar panels, which were expected to generate peak power capacity of up to 60MW – enough to power more than 90,000 Singapore homes for an hour.

Singapore’s DBS Bank has also set a target to power its operations using renewable energy by 2030. The bank, Southeast Asia’s largest by market capitalisation, has since moved its main datacentre to a facility that is 75% smaller, lowering its datacentre operating costs.

Read more on Datacentre energy efficiency and green IT

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