Amazon is expanding its renewable energy footprint across the southeastern United States in new ways. And these innovations are driving economic development, supporting local agriculture, and creating jobs, while also powering Amazon’s local operations.
Amazon’s expansion in the southeast includes five new solar and wind projects, bringing Amazon’s local total to 30 renewable energy projects in the region. Once fully operational, the projects are expected to generate more than 7,500 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of clean energy, which is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 713,000 U.S. homes each year. Amazon currently has more than 400 renewable energy projects worldwide—and is the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy globally—as well as in several states in the southeast, including Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi according to BloombergNEF.
Amazon's latest projects include Mississippi’s first utility-scale wind farm, and multiple solar farms in Arkansas and Georgia. In addition, some local communities are already benefitting from clean energy now that several Amazon projects are operational, including Turkey Creek Solar Ranch in Kentucky, Bulldog Solar Farm and Sonny Solar Farm in Georgia, and a rooftop solar project at the Amazon Air Hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
“Amazon is on a path to powering our operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025, and we want to ensure the local communities where our customers live and work are also benefiting from the solar and wind projects that we support,” said Charley Daitch, director of Energy and Water Strategy at Amazon Web Services (AWS). “These energy projects are helping provide clean energy to local grids, create jobs, support local businesses and farmers, and boost the rural tax base in the southeast, which are all part of Amazon’s commitment to become a more sustainable company.”
Here’s a look at how Amazon’s solar projects are impacting lives in the southeastern region.
Supporting next-generation farmers in Kentucky
At Turkey Creek Solar Ranch in Garrard County, Kentucky, the farmland below the solar panels is managed through a partnership with Daniel Bell, sheep rancher and owner of Hazelbrook Farm, and Silicon Ranch, the solar project’s developer. In this partnership, Bell’s sheep graze under the solar panels both to regenerate soil health and prevent the vegetation from interfering with energy production, and the panels provide shade for the sheep.
The arrangement means Bell can triple the size of his flock to nearly 1,000 sheep and turn the once part-time farm into a full-time, multi-generational operation by creating a year-round shepherding job for his son Canaan, who was previously employed as a local factory worker. The family plans to hire additional employees in the coming months to support the farm’s growth. The Bells sell their sheep to a local meat distributor, who is a supplier for Whole Foods Markets stores, a grocery chain owned by Amazon with nearby locations in Kentucky and Ohio.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Bell, who originally noticed the Amazon solar farm being built and reached out to Silicon Ranch. “People want to be farmers, but it’s very hard to be profitable. I always had the dream of being a full-time farmer, and I wanted that opportunity for my kids, and now they have it.”
Creating green jobs in Georgia
In Georgia, single mother and former warehouse worker Jhalexis Lee and Cameron Swinson, a former funeral home worker, have both launched new careers as solar technicians. Recently, they helped build Bulldog Solar, an Amazon solar farm in Warren County, Georgia, after graduating from the PowerUp Program. The program helps workers gain green job skills and receive ongoing technical training for careers in renewable energy. The program is led by Blue Ridge Power, a strategic construction partner of Pine Gate Renewables, the utility scale solar developer and owner of the Bulldog Solar project.
Lee joined the program soon after her son was born in 2022 to seek a better career path.
“I do my job for him, and when he graduates from high school, I’ll tell him that he should work in solar,” she said. “I’m often the only woman out in the solar field and it feels good to prove that women can do this job, too.”
Building Mississippi's first utility-scale wind farm
In Tunica County, Mississippi, Amazon is supporting the Delta wind project, which is the state’s first utility-scale wind farm. The facility will include 41 wind turbines powered by winds from the Mississippi Delta, and will be a dual-use operation, where the agricultural land will continue to be used for farming rice, soybeans, corn, and wheat under and around the turbines.
According to developer and owner-operator AES, the project is expected to bring tens of millions of dollars in consistent tax revenue to the county and school district, and is already generating local economic benefits, with dozens of people moving to the area to support the construction. Several local contractors and suppliers have already been hired, and the project is expected to create nearly 300 jobs during peak construction, according to AES.
Powering local businesses and homes near Cincinnati
Nearly 5,600 rooftop solar panels at the Amazon Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport recently began generating renewable energy to help power the local community. Amazon is leasing the rooftop free of charge to Duke Energy, which worked with Amazon’s team to install the panels. The system will generate enough energy to power roughly 400 average sized-homes per year according to Duke Energy.
Learn more about Amazon’s commitment to renewable energy.