Amazon AWS: Amazon signs deal with TotalEnergies for renewable energy

Jul 29, 2021 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Amazon, like many other big tech companies, is making big sustainability pledges. Some of these pledges include becoming net-zero carbon by 2040 and powering all of its operations with renewable energy by 2025. These targets are needed, too, considering the scale of the tech giant. Speaking to NBC, Jennifer Rushlow, associate dean of environmental programs at Vermont Law School, called the company’s carbon footprint “unfathomably large.” Moreover, in June 2021, its annual sustainability report revealed that in 2020, as Amazon sales skyrocketed due to the pandemic, its carbon emissions rose by 19%, up from a 15% year-over-year increase in 2019.

Now, pushing forward its green agenda, Amazon has announced it has signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) totaling 474MW with TotalEnergies. The companies also said they expect their cooperation to expand into the Middle East and the Asia Pacific in the future.

Stéphane Michel, President of Gas, Renewables & Power at TotalEnergies, said that the deal showed the company’s “commitment to reducing the carbon emissions of its operations”, and that deal would also help support its customers to mirror this globally. He added: “By signing this agreement, we are proud to enter into this key collaboration with Amazon and to accompany them on their journey to carbon neutrality. We are also counting on Amazon and AWS to help us advance our exponential shift in the speed, scale, and advancement of digitalization.”

Meanwhile, Kathrin Buvac, Vice President, AWS Strategic Industries, said: “Working with TotalEnergies on innovative cloud technologies to ‎drive reductions in carbon emissions and present new renewable energy sources is a tremendous opportunity.”

According to Buac, the collaboration will also accelerate Amazon’s commitment to power all operations with 100% renewable energy.

While the deal, of course, seems promising and a step in the right direction, it’s hard to ignore the recent fossil fuel controversy Amazon was embroiled in. As recently as 2019, Amazon employees raised climate change concerns with their employer, requesting a ban on fossil fuels. Amazon responded by placing a company-wide ban on such public criticism and the penalty, if broken, dismissal. Moreover, Amazon has also recently made deals with fossil fuel companies. This suggests its commitment to sustainability is less meaningful than it would like the public to think and perhaps more of a greenwashing PR stunt.