Virginia AEE Cheers Amazon’s Choice to Locate HQ2 Offices in Virginia as Opportunity to Expand Advanced Energy Resources
Business group welcomes Amazon’s announcement, sees opportunity to accelerate the development of a 21st century energy system in the Commonwealth, to the benefit of all Virginians
RICHMOND, November 13, 2018 — Business group Virginia Advanced Energy Economy (Virginia AEE) cheered today’s announcement by Amazon that the company plans to locate one of its new headquarters in Virginia. Besides the investment to relocate and hire 25,000 workers, Virginia AEE noted company’s sustained commitment to renewable generation and regulatory innovation in the energy market.
“We applaud Amazon’s decision to locate new operations in Virginia. Amazon has shown a sustained commitment to advancing a 21st century energy system throughout the United States. We welcome that outlook in the Commonwealth,” said Harrison Godfrey, Executive Director, Virginia AEE. “Besides creating tens of thousands of jobs at its new operations, the company is uniquely positioned to help sustain and accelerate Virginia’s advanced energy market.”
Amazon has made significant sustainability commitments related to energy use: Amazon has announced or commenced construction of projects to generate 3.6 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy each year; the company has begun hosting large-scale rooftop solar systems on fulfillment centers across the country with a “goal… to have more than 50 fulfillment centers with rooftop solar installed by 2020”; AWS has noted the inherent environmental benefits associated with running applications in the cloud, and has “a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for [its] global infrastructure footprint.” It’s halfway there — in January 2018, AWS announced it had reached 50% renewable energy usage. To put this in perspective, AWS renewable energy projects deliver enough electricity to power the equivalent of over 240,000 U.S. homes annually (about the size of the city of Portland, Oregon).
This news follows a series of announcements by Governor Northam’s Administration to expand the market for advanced energy technologies. On Oct. 31, the Governor announced Virginia would apply the second tranche of its VW settlement funds ($14 million) toward projects to electrify municipal fleets across the Commonwealth. The Administration released the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan on Oct. 2, which recommended “[exploring] legislative, administrative, and public-private opportunities to accelerate electrification (p. 41) and evaluate opportunities for local governments to aggregate purchasing (p. 41),” among several other reforms to modernize the electricity system, increase energy efficiency, and expand renewable energy resources. On Aug. 9, Gov. Northam announced plans to apply Virginia’s first tranche of VW funds (about $14 million) toward developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with a contract awarded to EVgo.
“Virginia has taken the early steps toward improving our energy mix and building a 21st century energy system. Continuing and accelerating that transition is essential for attracting and retaining large corporate energy buyers like Amazon,” said Godfrey. “That economic growth, coupled with energy innovation, will benefit all Virginians.”
About AEE and Virginia AEE
In Virginia, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) operates as Virginia Advanced Energy Economy (Virginia AEE), a group of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Virginia AEE seeks to drive the development of advanced energy to boost the state’s economy and competitiveness by working to remove policy barriers, identify market growth opportunities, encourage market-based policies, establish public and private partnerships, and serve as the voice for companies innovating in the advanced energy sector. Track industry news @AEEnet and @VA_AEE.
Note: Amazon is a member of Advanced Energy Economy and Virginia AEE.