Taking action to increase our sustainability
Our planet’s changing climate is one of the biggest issues facing organisations and individuals today. This is why Amazon has taken action to co-found The Climate Pledge to increase the environmental sustainability of our business by drawing 80 per cent of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2024, reaching 100 per cent renewable energy use by 2030, and achieving net zero annual carbon emissions across our entire business by 2040.
I’m delighted that Australia will be home to AWS’s first renewable energy project outside of the US and EU. AWS has committed to purchase 60 MW of power from a new solar project being built at the Gunnedah Solar Farm in northern New South Wales. When it becomes operational in 2021, the project is expected to generate 142,000 MWh of renewable energy annually for AWS, which is equivalent to the annual electricity of almost 23,000 Australian households.
Our investment at Gunnedah is part of our ongoing commitment to help our customers achieve their sustainability goals. This announcement is the latest in many steps we have already taken to increase our sustainability. At the same time that we unveiled our Australian investment in Gunnedah, we announced another three wind and solar projects around the world, amounting to 88 renewable energy projects that combined have the capacity to generate over 2,300 MW and deliver more than 6.3 million MWh of electricity annually. Collectively, these investments will help us achieve our commitments to the Paris Agreement ten years ahead of schedule, while creating hundreds of jobs and providing significant investment in local communities.
We are 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-premises data centre. As customers move their compute workloads to the cloud, they benefit from AWS’s own sustainability efforts, vast features, agility, and operational experience. Sustainability is hardwired into our cloud computing infrastructure – quite literally. A recent study by the global research firm 451 Research found that AWS’s infrastructure is 3.6 times more energy efficient than the median of surveyed enterprise data centres, with more than two thirds of this advantage due to our more energy-efficient server population and higher server utilisation. Once the carbon intensity of consumed electricity and renewable energy purchases is factored in, 451 Research found that AWS could perform the same tasks with an 88 per cent lower carbon footprint than traditional computing solutions.
The importance of cloud computing to Australia’s digital economy is growing quickly, with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that the use of paid cloud computing in Australian organisations grew from 31 per cent from 2015-2016 to 42 per cent in 2018-2019. As the world’s leading cloud computing provider, we believe it’s vital that growth is achieved in the most sustainable way possible. Our investment in Gunnedah is the first of a series of announcements we plan to make in Australia as we strive to meet and exceed our commitments to the future of the planet. We will explore the subject of sustainability at our upcoming Amazon Innovation Day on March 31, which is part of our AWS Sydney Summit 2020. As one of the largest annual technology conferences in Australia, we will invite industry and government to come together and innovate to develop new ideas to help solve issues like creating renewable and affordable energy, reducing waste in our cities, and helping to better plan for and recover from natural disasters.
By listening and responding to our customers’ desire to be more sustainable, we hope to inspire them and others to work together to help tackle some of the biggest challenges faced by our community.