Amazon has announced a new 115-megawatt (MW) wind farm project in Ardderroo, Galway, Ireland, which will begin operating in 2022, and will support Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centres in the country.
The new project in Ardderroo adds to the company’s existing projects in Esk, Co. Cork, which will come online in September 2020, and Meenbog, Co. Donegal, which will follow in early 2022. In total, these three projects are projected to add 229 MW of renewable energy to the Irish grid each year, reducing carbon emissions by 366,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, and producing enough renewable energy to power 185,000 Irish homes, per annum.
To be powered by renewable energy in Ireland, the company has committed to offtake 100% of the power from these projects without relying on public funding.
Once all projects are operational, Amazon says it will be the largest single corporate buyer of renewable energy in the country, and it won’t stop there. The company says it will announce more renewable projects as it heads towards its 100% renewable energy goal.
All of this is helping Ireland to get on track to meet its 2030 renewable targets, all without any subsidies.
Amazon also says it is innovating to preserve water. To reduce both the energy and water used in its Irish data centres, the company uses direct evaporative cooling systems, which predominately utilise outside air to cool the servers. This means that for more than 95% of the year no water is used to cool data centres in Ireland. For the few hot days Ireland does see, a minimal amount of water is used to cool the air that removes heat from the servers.
Utilising this highly efficient cooling solution, Amazon’s newest data centre designs use as little as 1,000m3 of water for cooling annually, per data centre – that is equivalent to the yearly water usage of just eight average Irish households.
For the new data centre, the company is redesigning the roofs of its buildings in order to enable rainwater harvesting, to offset the water used from the local supply.
Amazon’s goal is to be able to cool its data centres without taking any water from the local supply.
Amazon is also providing the local community excess heat from its data centres. At the data centre in Tallaght, South Dublin, Amazon is supporting the county council as they establish Ireland’s first, custom-built sustainable district heating solution. The ‘Tallaght District Heating Scheme (TDHS)’ will provide low-carbon heat to public sector, residential, and commercial customers from recycled heat, supplied from the local AWS data centre. The scheme will initially heat 47,000 m2 of public sector buildings, 6000 m2 of commercial space, and affordable apartments.