Fighting climate change is the biggest challenge of our time. One of the most impactful ways we can mitigate climate change is by deploying large-scale renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms, enabling our electrical grids to shift away from fossil fuels to clean electricity.
To date, Amazon has announced more than 400 renewable energy projects globally. When fully operational, these projects combined are expected to help generate enough clean energy to power the equivalent of more than 5.3 million U.S. homes. This work has resulted in Amazon becoming the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy—a position it has held for the last three years. This is one of the ways Amazon is leading the way toward more clean energy at scale.
Bringing new clean energy sources to market is not the only reason Amazon makes these investments—the projects can also generate real economic growth in the communities in which these solar and wind farms are developed and operated.
If you ever witnessed the mammoth turning blades of a wind farm, or seen an array of solar panels tracking the sun, you understand how sophisticated and involved these projects are, requiring many steps, stages, and people to construct.
A renewable energy project first requires manufacturing of solar panels or wind turbines. The construction requires workers with highly specialized skill sets, including heavy machinery operators, construction workers, electricians, welders, and more. After construction is complete, plant managers, solar panel technicians, wind turbine technicians, grounds maintenance crews, and many others help keep the farm operating.
Newly released data from Amazon shows that the company’s solar and wind farms globally have helped to generate more than $12 billion in investments in communities from 2014 through 2022. And in 2022, these utility-scale renewable energy projects supported more than 39,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
These numbers are impressive, but they can also be hard to appreciate without real-world examples. We visited individuals in our communities who have directly benefited from these projects by gaining new jobs or benefiting economically as a result of their development. Here are a few of the people behind the numbers.
Growing a green career at age 56 in southern Ohio
Allen Hull is the solar plant manager at Amazon Solar Farm Ohio–Yellowbud, a 274 megawatt (MW) solar farm about one hour south of Columbus, Ohio. Hull grew up in the area, a rolling landscape filled with corn, soybean, and dairy farms. And now, that landscape includes Yellowbud, where Hull oversees the day-to-day operations at the solar farm.
After high school, Hull served in the U.S. Marine Corps, returning to his native Ohio four years later to work in the area’s paper mill, like his parents and grandparents. For over three decades, Hull focused on electronics and training the next generation of electricians to service the mill. When he finally decided he wanted a career change, Hull didn’t need to look any further than across the road from his home, where developer National Grid Renewables was building a solar farm supported by Amazon.
Hull decided that he would like to be a part of that change. A neighbor working on the construction of Yellowbud suggested to Hull that he should apply to be the manager. He got the job.
“It was a big change at 56-years-old—not only changing jobs, but changing careers, and changing companies,” Hull said. “Yellowbud is an injection, almost a permanent injection, of income into our township, county, and school system, and it's good to be a part of those things. When it comes to adopting change, it absolutely can be hard, but you have to look at the benefits. It is a positive change in this area, and for me and my family. It was new, it was scary, but we have absolutely zero regrets about making that change.”
Contributing to the greater good in Rajasthan, India
Awadhesh Kumar is a senior engineer at Amazon Solar Farm India–Rajasthan Jaisalmer, a solar power plant located near Jaisalmer in the border state of Rajasthan, developed in partnership with ReNew.
The development of the solar plant by ReNew has brought tremendous growth to the area. “Residents have a continuous source of income, education opportunities for kids have improved, and local businesses are getting a boost,” Kumar said. “The community has flourished collectively because of ReNew's development of the solar farm.”
But it’s the broader purpose of the work that inspires Kumar and those around him.
It is the broader purpose of the work he does that inspires Kumar and those around him. “We are at the forefront of tackling climate change,” Kumar said. “Each day, I strive to do better, because I know that my work is making a real difference in the world. Working for a renewable energy company means I, along with fellow ReNewers, contribute to the greater good of the environment. This makes me proud of the job that I do.”
A windy resource in County Galway, Ireland
Gearoid loves his role as a wind farm construction project manager working on renewable projects throughout Ireland. And while the locations may change, one thing remains constant, Gearoid said, on a blustery day at an Amazon wind farm in County Galway, Ireland.
“It’s windy almost everywhere here,” Gearoid said. “Ireland has a fantastic wind resource, and so it’s great to be able to harness this to ensure we can generate low-cost, clean electricity.”
The development of the Amazon wind farm, which local school kids have named Gusta Gaoithe, or "gust of wind” in Irish Gaelic, has generated more than energy.
“We’ve been able to build trails for walkers and cyclists on the site, including a long hill climb,” Gearoid said. “We also have a community fund liaison committee set up to support community, heritage, and volunteer groups.”
Projects like Gusta Gaoithe make Gearoid proud, not just of the career he is now pursuing, but also of the impact he and the rest of Ireland can have beyond the nation’s borders.
“Renewable energy is critically important globally, and Ireland has a big role to play with the contributions it can make,” he said.
While this type of real-world impact demonstrates important progress, challenges remain and new solutions are required to keep this type of investment growing. This includes working with policymakers and utility companies to address the grid infrastructure issues that are delaying renewable energy projects from coming online.
Amazon looks forward to continue making a positive impact in our communities as we build a more sustainable business for our customers, our communities, and the environment.
Learn more about our model methodology.