Amazon has signed renewable energy deals totaling 474MW with energy company Total.
The cloud and ecommerce giant has signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for a commitment of 474MW of renewable capacity in the US and Europe with TotalEnergies – which recently rebranded from Total.
TE will supply renewable energy and potential battery energy solutions, and the companies said they expect to expand their cooperation in the Middle East and Asia Pacific in the future.
As part of the agreement, TotalEnergies will accelerate its move to the cloud using AWS as a “key cloud provider." The company recently launched a ‘digital factory’ in Paris where 300 developers, data scientists, and other experts will accelerate the Group’s digital transformation efforts, and aims to use AWS’ expertise to aid its plans. Total also said it would “evaluate” AWS’ High Performance Computing technology.
“TotalEnergies is deeply committed to reducing the carbon emissions of its operations and supporting its customers to do the same around the world. By signing this agreement, we are proud to enter into this key collaboration with Amazon and to accompany them on their journey to carbon neutrality.” said Stéphane Michel, President Gas, Renewables & Power at TotalEnergies. “We are also counting on Amazon and AWS to help us advance our exponential shift in the speed, scale, and advancement of digitalization.”
“Working with TotalEnergies on innovative cloud technologies to drive reductions in carbon emissions and present new renewable energy sources is a tremendous opportunity,” said Kathrin Buvac, Vice President, AWS Strategic Industries. “This collaboration will not only accelerate TotalEnergies’ migration to the cloud but also contribute toward Amazon’s commitment to power our operations with 100 percent renewable energy.”
Total has previously signed PPAs with Orange and BT. Despite being one of the largest oil & gas companies in the world, TE aims to reach net zero by 2050, and is building a portfolio of activities in renewables and electricity it says should account for up to 40 percent of its sales by 2050. The company said its gross power generation capacity worldwide was around 12GW at the end of 2020, including 7GW of renewable energy. It plans to expand to reach 35GW of renewable capacity by 2025, and 100GW by 2030.
It’s not clear if the computing part of this deal will be used to further TE’s renewable ambitions or for its oil & gas operations. Total has previously partnered with Microsoft for battery development and to use its Azure cloud services for fossil fuel extraction, while IBM developed Total’s 31.7 petaflops Pangea III supercomputer.
Despite its carbon emissions growing by 19 percent in 2020, Amazon has promised to use only renewable energy by 2025, and to decarbonize by 2040. The company is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in both the US and Europe, with renewable energy investments of more than 10GW across 232 projects globally.
However, while cloud companies have invested heavily to reduce the emissions of their data centers, they also actively pursue fossil fuel cloud contracts and develop custom AI tools to help make extraction more profitable. A number of fossil fuel companies including BHP, Exxon, Shell, Halliburton, Total, and BP have announced cloud deals with the likes of AWS and Microsoft Azure.
In 2019, 8,700 Amazon employees asked for a ban on fossil fuel deals. The company responded by updating its internal policies to ban employees from speaking out about its climate initiatives without seeking corporate approval. Despite the threat of losing their job, more than 350 employees have since publicly petitioned the company to drop oil and gas contracts.
Google last year said that it would no longer develop custom AI/ML solutions to facilitate upstream extraction, but continues to work with Chevron, Total, Schlumberger, and BP. It also entered into a partnership with Saudi Aramco to open data centers in the Middle East. More than 2,300 Google employees have called for the company to end fossil fuel contracts.