Amazon announces first renewable energy project in Canada

Amazon has announced its first renewable energy investment in Canada, a solar project in the County of Newell in Alberta.

The tech giant says the project will produce enough energy to power more than 18,000 Canadian homes for a year.

The 80 MW solar project will produce over 195,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy to the grid. The project will begin construction soon and is anticipated for completion by 2023, Kristin Gable, a spokesperson for Amazon, told ITBusiness.ca.

“This announcement is the largest solar power purchase agreement we’ve seen in Canada,” Rebecca Nadel told ITBusiness.ca in an email. Nadel is the director of Business Renewables Centre (BRC) for Canada, a non-profit organization that works to accelerate large-scale corporate and institutional renewable energy procurement across the country.

“In Canada, Alberta is the only province where these deals are happening because of the way the deregulated market is structured, enabling buyers and developers of renewable energy to connect directly,” Nadel highlighted.

This year is Canada’s strongest year to date when it comes to activity in the solar market, Nadel adds. She says BRC estimates well over $1B of investment as a result of the deals announced to date.

Growth in solar projects has skyrocketed in Canada. Deals announced since the start of 2019 have multiplied the amount of contracted, utility-scale solar in place in Alberta by 30-fold, according to BRC-Canada Deal Tracker. The tracker is the first public curation of corporate procurement of announced renewable energy projects in Canada.

Screenshot of Corporate Renewable Energy Deals in Canada (April 2021)
Corporate renewable Energy deals in Canada (April 2021) Source: BRC-Canada Deal Tracker. Click to enlarge.

Investing in renewable energy is one of the many actions Amazon is taking as part of its climate pledge. The company says it’s committed to becoming net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

“Amazon continues to play a key role leading the corporate transition to renewable power worldwide and demonstrating that ambitious renewable targets are both achievable and widely beneficial,” said Gregory Wetstone, president and chief executive officer of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), in a press release. 

The solar project in Canada is one of nine new utility-scale wind and solar energy projects Amazon is launching around the world. The company now has 206 renewable energy projects globally, which it says will generate 8.5 GW of electricity production capacity globally. 

The online retail giant says all of these projects put it on a path to power 100 per cent of its activities with renewable energy by 2025 – five years ahead of the original target of 2030.