Amazon teams with Community Energy on 80 MW solar power project in Virginia

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Amazon Web Services, an Amazon.com company, announced June 10 that it has teamed with Community Energy Inc. to support the construction and operation of an 80 MW solar farm in Accomack County, Virginia, called Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East.

This project is expected to start generating about 170,000 MWh of solar power annually as early as October 2016. Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East will be the largest solar farm in the state of Virginia, with all energy generated delivered into the electrical grids that supply both current and future AWS Cloud datacenters.

Internet-based companies like Amazon have been big promoters of renewable energy in recent years.

In November 2014, AWS shared its long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for the global AWS infrastructure footprint. As of April 2015, AWS announced that about 25 percent of the power consumed by its global infrastructure comes from renewable energy sources with an interim goal of increasing that to at least 40 percent by the end of 2016.

The power purchase agreement for Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East follows a similar PPA for Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) in Benton County, Indiana, that was announced in January 2015 and is expected to generate about 500,000 MWh of wind power annually.

“We continue to make significant progress towards our long-term commitment to power the global AWS infrastructure with 100 percent renewable energy,” said Jerry Hunter, Vice President of Infrastructure at Amazon Web Services. “Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East — the second PPA that will serve both existing and planned AWS datacenters in the central and eastern U.S. — has the added benefit of working to increase the availability of renewable energy in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said: “Amazon’s new solar project will create good jobs on the Eastern Shore and generate more clean, renewable energy to fuel the new Virginia economy. I look forward to working with Amazon and Accomack to get this project online as we continue our efforts to make Virginia a global leader in the renewable energy sector.”

Community Energy is a pioneer in developing renewable energy with a long history in solar and wind energy. Community CEO Brent Alderfer, said: “We are pleased to work with Amazon Web Services to build the largest solar farm in Virginia and one of the largest east of the Mississippi. This project, which wouldn’t have been possible without AWS’ leadership, helps accelerate the commercialization and deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies at scale in Virginia.”

Launched in 2006, Amazon Web Services offers a robust, fully featured technology infrastructure platform in the cloud comprised of a broad set of compute, storage, database, analytics, application, and deployment services from datacenter locations in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Ireland, Japan and Singapore. Amazon.com runs the online shopping site of the same name.

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