Amazon is establishing its third Irish wind farm in County Galway, a move that will double its renewable energy capacity in Ireland.

According to a blog post by AWS, the 115MW wind farm project in the county's Ardderroo area will go towards supporting Amazon Web Services’ (AWS') data centers in Ireland.

The project is expected to be finished by 2022 and should feature around 27 turbines.

Amazon wind.jfif
The plans are part of Amazon’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 – AWS

Wind on the Emerald Isle

Elsewhere in Ireland, Amazon has a project near the town of Esk, County Cork, and one in Meenbog, County Donegal. The Esk project will be online and producing next month, while Meenbog will start operation in early 2022.

The wind farms will be linked to Ireland’s national grid and add 229MW of renewable energy to the Irish grid each year. Amazon will sign power-purchase agreements (PPAs) for the energy and they will not be subsidized by the Irish state.

According to AWS, the projects will reduce carbon emissions by 366,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, and produce enough power for 185,000 Irish homes. AWS has promised to use an equivalent amount of power to the windfarms' output, so it's data centers do not create a net burden on the grid. These three Amazon renewable projects help Irish energy consumers avoid an estimated €229m ($271m) Public Service Obligation (PSO) subsidy cost on their energy bills.

Once all projects are operational, AWS will be the largest single corporate buyer of renewable energy in Ireland. “We won’t stop here,.” the post says. “You can expect to see us announce more renewable projects as we head towards our 100 percent renewable energy goal. All of this is helping Ireland to get on track to meet its 2030 renewable targets, all without any subsidies.”

Water conservation

Amazon is also working to preserve water by using outside air to cool its servers - with a direct evaporative cooling system for hot days.

“This means that for more than 95 percent of the year we use no water to cool our data centers in Ireland.” AWS said: “For the few hot days Ireland does see, we use a minimal amount of water to cool the air that removes heat from our servers.

"Utilizing this highly efficient cooling solution, our newest data center designs use as little as 1,000m3 of water for cooling annually, per data center.” That is the same as 1Ml (a million liters) or one Olympic-size swimming pool - a volume that can be consumed in just two days by a poorly-optimized data center in a hot climate.

AWS has also announced it will establish a district heating system at its Tallaght data center in South Dublin. The Tallaght District Heating Scheme will provide low-carbon heat to the public sector, residential, and commercial customers from recycled heat, supplied from our local AWS data center. The scheme will initially heat 47,000 sq m (506,000 sq ft) of public sector buildings, 6,000 sq m (65,000 sq ft) of commercial and residential space.

Facebook PPA

Earlier this month, Facebook signed a 28.8MW PPA in Ireland. Facebook plans to expand its offices in the region and is backing the construction of the Lisheen III wind farm project by Brookfield Renewable, which is expected to generate 28.8MW when it launches in 2022.

The social media and advertising company, like AWS, is also undergoing its own pledge to meet its energy requirements with renewables.

Colin Spain, Facebook’s energy manager for EMEA, said: “We hope it will not only support our operations in Ireland and our goal of 100 percent renewable energy for all of our global operations but will encourage all stakeholders to work together to bring additional renewables to the grid via corporate power purchase agreements."