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Amazon, AES Collaborate on Mississippi’s First Utility-Scale Wind Farm

Online retail giant Amazon will build the first utility-scale wind farm in Mississippi, according to an announcement released by the company on July 6. The 184.5-megawatt (MW) “Delta wind farm” will feature 41 wind turbines powered by winds from the Mississippi Delta. Once completed, the facility will generate enough clean energy to power almost 80,000 homes a year in the Magnolia State. Global energy group AES will serve as the developer and long-term owner-operator of the facility.

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“As a proud new neighbor of Tunica County, this project will generate meaningful economic impact across the Delta—all while maintaining the existing farming operations,” Chief Commercial Officer of AES Clean Energy Kleber Costa said. “This is the first utility-scale wind facility in Mississippi and would not have been possible without our local community partners and our partnership with Amazon that is driving this new clean energy development that will bring value for years to come.”

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The Delta Wind Farm installation is being built on 14,000 acres of privately-held agricultural land in Tunica County, MS. The dual-use operation will see the land under and around the turbines continue to be used for farming rice, soybeans, corn, and wheat. AES expects operations to begin in 2024. 

Amazon’s latest renewable energy installation will help support its business operations across the state, which include running its fulfillment centers, delivery stations, and a Whole Foods Market franchise. Once fully operational, Amazon will have six renewable energy facilities in Mississippi, which together are expected to generate more than 1,850 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of clean energy annually. In total, the e-commerce company supports more than 30 renewable energy projects in the Southeast U.S. and over 400 worldwide. 

The Delta Wind Farm project is part of Amazon’s broader commitment to attain net-zero carbon emissions. According to its website, Amazon aims to power its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025––five years ahead of its original target of 2030. In 2022, 90% of the electricity consumed by Amazon was sourced from renewables—both from renewable energy projects that the company built and from renewable energy credits that Amazon bought. 

“Amazon is on a path to powering our operations with 100% renewable energy, 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,” Charley Daitch, director of Energy and Water Strategy at Amazon Web Services (AWS), said in the announcement. “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 journey to become a more sustainable company.”

Wind is America’s largest source of renewable energy, accounting for 10.3% of total U.S. electricity generation. In eight states, wind energy supplies a quarter of the electricity produced––a number that is bound to keep growing as investment in clean energy continues to outpace investment in fossil fuels. In 2022, wind energy helped prevent 334 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from reaching the atmosphere––a figure equivalent to taking 73 million cars off the road, data from American Clean Power found.

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The industry is also a major employer. The sector supports 126,000 jobs nationwide, with “wind turbine technician” currently ranked as the second fastest-growing job in the country. In Tunica County, AES expects to create nearly 300 jobs during peak construction and to deliver tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue to the county and the local school district––a win-win for residents of Tunica County, which for decades had relied on revenue from the county’s now-obsolete casino industry. 

As the demand for clean energy increases, the private sector is delivering durable and innovative sustainability solutions. As net-zero commitments for businesses loom near, Amazon’s latest collaboration with AES is proof that private sector leadership can play a major role in deploying more clean energy while creating economic prosperity. 

Nathalie Voit is a freelance content creator and a graduate of the University of Florida. She is an alumni of The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program.  

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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