Amazon-backed wind farm in Scotland begins operations

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A 50-megawatt onshore wind farm in Scotland is now operational, and tech giant Amazon will purchase all of its output.

According to ScottishPower — which is part of the Iberdrola Group — the Beinn an Tuirc 3 facility has 14 turbines and is able to produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 46,000 homes.

In a statement issued Thursday, ScottishPower said Amazon would purchase “100% of the power output from this windfarm, and the energy generated will power Amazon and Amazon Web Services … data centres, corporate offices, and fulfilment centres across the UK.”

The above arrangement is a power purchase agreement, or PPA. In simple terms, a PPA refers to a deal where an energy producer sells power to a business at a fixed price over a set period of time.

ScottishPower said Beinn an Tuirc 3, which is located on the Kintyre peninsular in western Scotland, had been constructed without needing a government support scheme. PPAs, the company said, provided corporate customers with “certainty” as well as a “reduction in their own carbon footprint.”

Amazon’s total carbon footprint hit 60.64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 19%.

The company’s Scope 1 emissions – that is, emissions from its direct operations – jumped to 9.62 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent, a year-on-year growth of 67%.

The company’s carbon intensity for 2020 — grams of CO2 equivalent per dollar of gross merchandise sales — saw a year-over-year drop of 16%, however.

The last few years have seen a number of major firms strike PPAs to buy renewable energy. In September, for instance, Norway’s Statkraft said a long-term purchasing agreement related to a floating offshore wind farm dubbed “the world’s largest” had started.

The power purchase agreement between Statkraft and developer Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Ltd sees the former buy “all electrical output from the floating wind project with a guaranteed minimum price per MWh [megawatt hour] until 2029.”

In July 2020, Danish energy business Orsted and semiconductor company TSMC signed 20-year deal that will see TSMC purchase all the output from a 920 MW offshore wind farm off Taiwan.

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