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Amazon makes green energy pledge

Spencer Soper
Bloomberg News Inc., criticized by an environmental group this year for being among the dirtiest technology companies, pledged to reach 100 percent renewable energy usage for its cloud computing division.

In an undated post on its website titled “AWS and Sustainable Energy,” the Seattle-based company announced the commitment without giving a time frame or declaring any renewable energy investments.

“AWS has a long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint,” said the online retailer, which operates the multibillion-dollar cloud technology business via its Amazon Web Services division.

The move represents a major shift for Amazon, according to the environmental group Greenpeace, which gave Amazon an F in an April report for failing to commit to renewable energy and for siting new data centers close to “dirty” energy sources such as coal-fired power plants. Greenpeace has been pushing technology companies to invest in renewable energy for their large data centers because they consume so much electricity.

Leah Bibbo, an Amazon spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Greenpeace Tuesday noticed Amazon’s latest commitment to run its cloud division on renewable energy, following other technology giants that have made similar pledges.

“With the world’s largest public cloud apparently joining Apple, Google, Facebook and others in committing to power with 100 percent renewable energy, the race to build a green Internet may be gaining a new crucial competitor,” Greenpeace Senior IT Campaigner Gary Cook said in a statement.

Unlike Amazon, however, those companies announced major investments and green initiatives along with the pledge.

“Amazon’s customers will need more information to be sure that AWS means business about renewable energy. AWS should offer a plan for how it will implement its ambitious new commitment across its footprint,” Cook said.