Amazon, the online retailer with a goal of powering its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025, on July 7 announced a project that would be the first utility-scale wind farm in Mississippi.
The 184.5-MW Delta wind farm, being built in Tunica County, is Amazon’s sixth renewable energy installation in that state, and will join five solar farms in the company’s Mississippi portfolio. The facility will include 41 wind turbines powered by winds from the Mississippi Delta.
The wind farm is owned and will be operated by Virginia-headquartered AES Corp., a global energy group known for its development and operation of renewable energy projects. AES in June announced it had acquired the largest permitted U.S. solar-plus-storage installation, the 2-GW Bellefield project in Kern County, California.
AES acquired the Delta project from Danish developer Vestas last year. Vestas had begun building the wind farm under its North American development arm Steelhead Americas.
The Delta installation will help power Amazon’s operations in Mississippi, which include fulfillment and sortation centers, delivery stations, and a Whole Foods Market location. The company on Friday said that when fully operational, its six renewable energy facilities are expected to generate more than 1,850 GWh annually. Amazon said the Mississippi projects are among 30 renewable energy installations the company supports across seven states in the southeastern U.S.
“Amazon is committed 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,” 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 journey to become a more sustainable company.”
Officials on Friday said the Delta wind farm will be a dual-use operation, built on 14,000 acres of agricultural land that will continue to be used for farming rice, soybeans, corn, and wheat. AES officials said the company is working with landowners “to ensure prioritization and respect for Tunica’s rich history and farming traditions, ensuring farming can continue with minimal disruption during construction, and once operational, farming will continue under and around the turbines.”
“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,” said Kleber Costa, chief commercial officer of AES Clean Energy. “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.”
AES said the project is expected to bring tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue to local jurisdictions, including the county and school district. The company said the wind farm is expected to begin operations in 2024, and is projected to create nearly 300 jobs in Tunica County during peak construction.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).