Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Amazon Web Services Building New Data Centre Wind Farm

In a bid to eventually run its entire global infrastructure using only renewable energy sources, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has just announced the latest piece of exciting data centre news. According to AWS, they have contracted with EDP Renewables to build a 100 MW wind farm in the United States to be called the Amazon Wind Farm US Central. EDP Renewables will also operate the farm as a contractor for AWS.

Current plans call for the project to be completed by sometime in 2017. All of the energy generated by the wind farm will go to the grid to supply energy for Amazon Web Service data centres. Officials expect the farm to be able to produce up to 320,000 MWh once up and running. The wind farm will be the centrepiece of current and future cloud data centres in the US AWS network.

Slow and Steady Progress

When AWS announced its ambitious renewable energy plants years ago, there was no telling how long it would take the company to finally reach a point of operating on 100% renewable energy. The company still does not have any solid dates in mind. However, they did release data earlier this year showing that they have already reached the 25% threshold. They expect at least 40% of their energy consumption to be based on renewables by the end of 2016. That number will jump considerably once the new wind farm project is online.

AWS vice president Jerry Hunter said that his company continues “to pursue projects that help to develop more renewable energy sources to the grids that power AWS data centres, and bring us closer to achieving our long-term goal of powering our global infrastructure with 100 per cent renewable energy.” He went on to explain how the new US wind farm project will help drive them closer to their goals.

New Construction in the UK

In addition to the wind farm project, AWS has also said they plan to build at least one new UK-based data centre to service those customers who are required to keep information stored domestically. Currently, AWS customers in the UK are served by cloud data centres in Ireland and Germany. The fact that multiple data centres are being used to serve customers suggests the company will be constructing more than one facility here. All eyes are on AWS to see whether the new facilities will be up and running in 2016 or 2017.

We are also interested to see how AWS will employ renewable energy strategies to their new UK data centres. Being that they have a goal of eventually being 100% renewable, it would not make sense to construct new data centres here without also finding a way to power them using alternative means. Whether that means wind, solar, water, or a combination of all three remains to be seen. Whatever the finished product, it is quite likely that AWS will be setting standards for future data centre development.



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