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Amazon is funding the building of a 150MW wind farm in Benton County Indiana, by signing a long term agreement to buy its output. This asgreement, similar to those used by Google, will further the cloud provider’s promise in November to power Amazon Web Services (AWS) completely with renewable energy.

The Fowler Ridge wind farm will be built by Pattern Energy Group, and supply up to 500,000 MegaWhat hours (MWh) of energy per year under a 13 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Amazon announced. The farm, which will be officially known as as the Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) should be up and running by January 2016, and will supply AWS data centers.

Pattern Energy Wind Farm Hatchett Ridge California 2
Pattern Energy Wind Farm Hatchett Ridge California 2 – Pattern Energy

Renewables blowing in the wind

Amazon promised in November that the whole of AWS will ultimately be powered from renewable sources. It has npt given any detailed timescale of when this will be achieved, but the PPA announced this week is a significant step towards the goal.

Google and Apple are already heavy users of renewable energy, with Apple building its own giant solar farm, and Google setting up various purchase agreements. Environmental group Greenpeace has been openly criticial of Amazon for lagging behind other cloud providers while, until last November, Amazon itself was often dubious about the benefits of renewables

Amazon is still lagging somewhat - Google’s largest PPA, for 407MW in Iowa, was signed a year ago, and since then it has signed other agreements, including one for 62MW of partly off-shore wind in the Netherlands.

The company also faces some environmental backlash: in Prince William County Virgina, a proposed Amazon data center is facing protests because of the power lines it requires.

From Pattern Energy’s side, the 13 year deal is a right of firce offer (ROFO) deal, and enables the building of the plant. Pattern is an independent power company with around 1600MW of power produced by twelve wind power projects in the United States, Canada and Chile.