Amazon AWS: ScottishPower: Amazon-funded wind farm opens in Kintyre, Scotland

Nov 01, 2021 | Posted by MadalineDunn

ScottishPower Renewables’ wind project, launched in association with and funded by Amazon, has come online. The 50MW Beinn an Tuirc 3 wind farm on the Kintyre peninsula has 15 turbines, and according to ScottishPower, it is the largest in its portfolio built without any government support.

The project will reportedly generate 168 GWh of energy per year and will add up to 529MW of clean power as one of four Amazon-funded projects in the UK. Amazon is purchasing all of the output through a Power Purchase Agreement.

Speaking about the projects and how it fits in with AWS’s goals, Kenneth Matthews, head of energy, EMEA at Amazon Web Services (AWS), said: “This is the first of our projects to come online in the UK, and is part of a series of investments we are making to power our infrastructure with 100 percent renewable power by 2025, five years ahead of our original 2030 target."

He added: “Amazon’s commitment to buy the power generated from these projects enables the developer to finance and build them. It sends a clear message that a project of this size can be delivered without public subsidies.”

Meanwhile, Lindsay McQuade, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said that in order to reach net-zero over the next 30 years: “We need to quadruple the amount of renewable energy produced in the UK so we can move away from petrol and diesel cars; electrify public transport; get rid of gas boilers and move to electric heating for our homes; and lower emissions from heavy industry and the goods and services we rely on every day.”

Speaking about what lies ahead and the need to make real, effective changes to combat climate change, the industry body Scottish Renewables’s Policy director Morag Watson said: "There will be significant challenges to overcome, particularly in the capacity of the planning system to deliver timely consents.

"But as we head into COP26, industry looks forward to working with the Scottish government to overcome these barriers to cement Scotland's position as a world leader in both onshore wind and action on climate change."

While this apparent commitment to clean, green power appears promising, AWS is a constantly expanding presence and a huge consumer of energy. Its latest sustainability report revealed that the company’s carbon footprint increased by 15% in the last year - a figure that is only likely to grow. Moreover, although AWS data centers require continuous power, the energy provided by this new wind farm will be generated on an intermittent basis, so the situation is not as positive as the company’s press release would indicate.