AWS is committed to running our business in the most environmentally friendly way possible. In addition to the environmental benefits inherently associated with running applications in the cloud, AWS has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint.
We’ve made a lot of progress on this commitment. As of April 2015, approximately 25% of the power consumed by our global infrastructure comes from renewable energy sources1. We have a goal of increasing this to at least 40% by the end of 2016.
In January, AWS announced that it teamed with Pattern Development to support the construction and operation of a 150 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Benton County, Indiana, called the Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge). This new wind farm is expected to start generating approximately 500,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind power annually as early as January 2016. The energy generated by Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) will be delivered into the electrical grids that supply current and future AWS Cloud datacenters.
AWS introduced its first carbon-neutral region in 2011. Today, AWS offers customers three AWS Regions that are carbon-neutral:
- US West (Oregon)
- EU (Frankfurt)
- AWS GovCloud (US)
Cloud computing is inherently more environmentally friendly than traditional computing. Today, individual companies often operate one or many corporate datacenters to meet their internal IT requirements. Even with broad adoption of virtualization technology, most enterprises still struggle to achieve moderate utilization rates for their data center infrastructure (typically lower than 20%). The result is a significant amount of unused server capacity and wasted energy consumption to power all of this unused or underutilized infrastructure.
AWS works relentlessly to reduce the amount of energy consumed by our global infrastructure. With more than a million active customers leveraging AWS around the clock in every imaginable capacity, AWS utilization rates are several times higher than are typical of an on-premises datacenter. Simultaneously, AWS is focused on increasing the sources of renewable energy powering our infrastructure. AWS operates at a massive scale and has invested in significant hardware, software and operational efficiencies that drive several times improvement in server utilization levels as compared to the average corporate datacenter. AWS Infrastructure uses rack-optimized systems that use less than 1/8th the energy of the blade server enclosures that are often used in corporate datacenters. Because AWS pools resources, customers who deploy applications in the cloud reduce their carbon footprint by default and significantly reduce the amount of environmental waste that occurs when individual datacenters operate well below constructed capacity.
April 2015 – AWS announced a 4.8 megawatt hour pilot of Tesla’s energy storage batteries in its US West (Northern California) Region. Batteries are important for both data center reliability and as enablers for the efficient application of renewable power. They help bridge the gap between intermittent production, from sources like wind, and the data center’s constant power demands. For more information, please see the Tesla press kit here.
April 2015 – Amazon announced that it has joined the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and will participate in the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance (US PREF) to increase its work with state and federal policymakers and other stakeholders to enable more renewable energy opportunities for cloud providers. For more information, please see the ACORE blog post here.
January 2015 – AWS announced it has teamed with Pattern Development to support the construction and operation of a 150 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Benton County, Indiana, called the Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge). This new wind farm is expected to start generating approximately 500,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind power annually as early as January 2016 – or the equivalent of that used by approximately 46,000 US homes2 in a year. The energy generated by Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) will be used to help power both current and future AWS Cloud datacenters.
November 2014 – AWS shared its long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for the global AWS infrastructure footprint.
1 AWS considers this to mean electric power generated from naturally replenished resources, which are delivered into the electrical grids that supply our data centers.
2 In 2012, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,837 kWh, an average of 903 kilowatthours (kWh) per month.