Amazon scores offshore wind energy deal with Shell and Eneco

Power purchase agreement (PPA) will see tech giant buy more than half the generation capacity of the 759MW Holladske Kust Noord offshore wind farm under construction off the coast of the Netherlands

Amazon has struck a deal to directly buy clean power from a subsidy-free offshore wind farm being co-developed by oil major Shell and renewables firm Eneco off the coast of the Netherlands, it announced today.

The online retail and tech giant said the power purchase agreement (PPA) would bring it closer towards meeting its commitment to become a net zero carbon business by 2040, putting it on track to power its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of its original 2030 target.

Under the terms of the deal, Amazon will purchase more than half of the power generated by the 759MW Holladske Kust Noord offshore wind farm from 2024 onwards, taking 250MW from Shell and 130MW of capacity from Eneco, a Dutch natural gas and clean energy company owned by Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation.

The investment will help the two energy firms to scale the innovative wind project, which is scheduled to come online in 2023. The project aims to become a testbed for a number of new technologies which Amazon said could ultimately enable a continuous power supply at the park regardless of wind conditions. These includes a floating solar park, short-term battery storage, “optimally-tuned turbines” and a green hydrogen storage facility, it said.

The move comes less than two months after Amazon powered past Google to become the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, after securing a huge 3.4GW package of PPAs last December.

Elisabeth Brinton, executive vice president of new energies at Shell, said the deal would also progress Shell’s ambition to become a “net zero emissions business by 2050 or sooner”.

“We are delighted to continue strengthening our strategic relationship with Amazon Web Services across Shell New Energies,” she said. “Our collaboration is enabling us to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation.”

Shell said the partners were already collaborating on a number of sustainability milestones, noting that last year Amazon’s air cargo network secured six million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Shell’s jet fuel division.

However, such collaborative efforts between fossil fuel industry tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft have also faced criticism, with the latter group having come under fire for their work supplying machine learning and cloud computing services for the oil and gas sector. Last month NGO InfluenceMap argued Big Tech was failing to show corporate leadership on responsible climate advocacy, despite their significant economic clout and significantly increasing their returns during the pandemic.