Amazon to generate its own electricity in SA and Eskom CEO considers greener energy options


On Thursday, Amazon announced that South Africa will soon be one of the countries where the company generates its own electricity from “utility-scale” solar and wind plants. South Africa is one of 26 projects Amazon announced, other countries who join the list include, France, Germany, Italy and more.

Amazon’s new project will generate green power to feed (via Eskom’s power lines) its large data centres, supporting both its own services and those of many other companies.

Amazon reportedly has 68 solar rooftops at various centres around the world as well as 59 utility-scale solar and wind projects.

The company has promised to be a “net-zero carbon” by 2040 and says the new projects will make it the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. In Thursday’s statement, CEO Jeff Bezos said that at its present trajectory, 100% of Amazon’s business will be running on renewable energy by 2025.

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While Amazon has yet to provide specifics, a report by Business Day reveals that the power the company intends to generate in SA will come from a solar project in the Northern Cape, with construction starting in 2021.

Not long after Amazon’s announcement, Eskom warned of a high probability of loadshedding until September 2021 dues to several unexpected outages at its power stations.

At an event at the French Residence in Pretoria on Wednesday evening (to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter told News24 that greener options such solar, wind and gas energy are quick ways to immediately fill South Africa’s power gap and noted that these alternative options are also more economical than conventional sources.

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