Amazon Web Services has announced five new solar farms in Virginia with a total capacity of 120 MW.
The new projects include four 20 MW solar farms in New Kent, Buckingham, Sussex, and Powhatan, and a 100 MW facility in Southampton County.
- Amazon worked with Virginia Solar LLC and Community Energy Solar on the projects and says it will further collaborate with an affiliate of Dominion Resources to own and operate the solar farms long term.
The five new Amazon solar projects will join a 208 MW wind farm under development in North Carolina that is due online by the end of 2016 and two wind farms, one 100 MW and the other 189 MW in Ohio that are due online in 2017.
Amazon already has an 80-MW operating solar farm in Virginia, a 150 MW wind farm in Indiana and says it has to date enabled 10 renewable energy projects in the United States, moving the company closer to its long-term goal of powering its web services with 100% renewable energy.
In October, Amazon said it expects to exceed its 2016 goal of 40% by the end of the year and set a new, near-term goal of 50% by the end of 2017.
"We continue to ramp our sustainability efforts in areas where availability of renewable energy sources is low or proposed projects are stalled, and where the energy contribution goes onto the same electric grid that powers AWS data centers," Peter DeSantis, vice president of infrastructure at Amazon Web Services, said in a statement.
Amazon is not alone. Companies such as Target and Walmart also have set high bars for renewable energy. Such corporate sustainability targets have made corporations a driving force in renewable development. In many cases those corporations are choosing to have a hand in developing projects rather than investing in them or buying renewable energy credits because development provides “additionality,” that is, a new project increases the amount of renewable energy on the grid while backing down some fossil fueled power.