Data centres use enormous amounts of power to run their millions of servers and to keep them cool, and so when Amazon Web Services (AWS), the largest cloud-computing operation in the world, promised to go 100% green by only using renewable energy, environmentalists everywhere rejoiced.

The many corporate clients of AWS, in Singapore and wider South-East Asia, and indeed right around the world, will also be pleased at the development, as it sets the company apart from others and shows a level of innovation and corporate responsibility matched only by a handful of other mega-corporations, such as Google and Apple, which have been rapidly transitioning to renewable energy sources only.

The move will help to boost Amazon’s public image at a time when heavy carbon footprints among large companies are increasingly being frowned upon.

Already, AWS is part of the way towards running entirely on renewable sources of energy, which include wind and solar power, among others. A number of AWS data centres are currently carbon neutral, according to the company, and overall, AWS is using 15% clean energy sources, according to a study by the environmental group Greenpeace.

Announcing the move in a blog post, AWS said it was making “a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint”. As it is, however, operating in the cloud is far more environmentally friendly than companies running their own on-site IT networks, Amazon said.

That’s because individual networks rarely reach capacity and are often running and consuming power when there’s not a lot of use for it. Data centres offer vastly improved power efficiencies, as they’re configured to shift data loads and performance and keep server-idling to a minimum. That translates into overall lower power consumption, which is better for the environment and for costs to clients.

“AWS operates at a massive scale and has invested in significant hardware, software and operational efficiencies that drives several times improvement in server utilisation levels as compared to the average corporate data centre,” the company said.

“AWS infrastructure uses rack-optimised systems that use less than 1/8th the energy of the blade server enclosures that are often used in corporate data centres,” it added.

For more on Amazon’s renewable energy plans, visit

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