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Amazon's impressive clean energy portfolio will generate enough power for more than 6 million homes — but is it misleading?

The company controls 479 wind and solar projects around the globe.

The company controls 479 wind and solar projects around the globe.

Photo Credit: iStock

Megacorporation Amazon creates a massive amount of pollution on a regular basis. However, the company is attempting to offset a portion of that pollution with a renewable energy portfolio that it says will soon be big enough to power 6.7 million homes in the United States.

In 2023 alone, Amazon invested in 78 new solar and wind energy projects, according to its reporting. These include a repurposed coal mine site in Maryland, 10 new renewable energy projects in Texas, and one in South Korea.

The company controls 479 wind and solar projects around the globe, all of which are expected to generate more than 71,900 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of clean energy (reportedly enough to power 6.7 million U.S. homes) annually.

Wind and solar energy projects are vital to move our society beyond the need for the dirty energy–based power that is polluting our air and overheating our planet. However, the existence of these projects does not, despite what Amazon would like you to believe, mean that the company is having an overall positive effect on the environment.

In fact, it may be quite the opposite. Even as it develops clean energy projects, Amazon continues to create more heat-trapping carbon pollution than many entire countries, including Switzerland and Denmark, according to The Eco Experts and data from Amazon (taking into account Amazon's broader supply chain).

Amazon has also employed strategies like making grand announcements about environmental initiatives, such as committing to making half of its shipments carbon neutral by 2030, but then failing to follow through. The company quietly abandoned that promise a few years after making it. 

Amazon's planet-overheating pollution has worsened as it increasingly tries to market itself as a sustainable, environmentally friendly corporation, reports The Verge. The company generated 71.54 million metric tons (about 78.9 million tons) of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2021 alone, per The Verge and Amazon's data.

So, while 479 clean energy projects are undoubtedly a good thing on their own, it is important to view them in their overall context and not let Amazon off the hook for the huge amount of damage it does to our environment.

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