Amazon building massive solar energy farms amid climate criticism

The projects will produce enough energy to power more than 67,000 homes

Amazon is building three major solar energy projects in Illinois, Virginia and Spain, the corporation announced Tuesday.

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The investments are part of the company's pledge to reach 80 percent renewable energy by 2024 and 100 percent renewable by 2030. They'll power Amazon fulfillment centers and Amazon Web Services data centers, the corporation said.

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The projects will be Amazon's first in both Spain and Illinois, although the corporation already has eight projects in Virginia.

The three projects combined are expected to produce nearly 700,000 megawatt-hours of energy per year, enough to power more than 67,000 homes, Amazon said.

(Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Illinois' governor and Virginia's senior senator welcomed the projects.

"As we work to put our state on a path to 100 percent clean and renewable energy, Illinois is proud to have Amazon invest in a major solar project in our state," Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D-Ill., said in a statement. "Addressing climate change will take all of us working together, and leadership from state governments and the business community will demonstrate how we can sustainably power a modern economy and create good-paying jobs."

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"I applaud Amazon for their investment in renewable energy projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a statement. "This solar energy project will generate 80 megawatts of renewable energy, which will help lead to a cleaner and healthier environment."

Not everyone reacted positively to Amazon's news, including newly formed anti-Amazon coalition Athena.

"Amazon's data business, like its Marketplace, depends on dirty fossil fuels that poison communities least able to bear that burden — especially communities of color like San Bernardino, which yesterday had a message for Amazon about a community benefit agreement," Athena's director Dania Rajendra told FOX Business in a statement. "Small moves on renewable energy, while nice, are no substitute for big questions on whether their growth-based business model, from more and more data to faster and faster delivery, can be fixed to fit into human, community and climate priorities."

Amazon has more than 70 renewable energy projects throughout the globe.

Amazon's announcement came shortly after Cyber Monday provided an occasion for its critics to speak out.

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"CEO Jeff Bezos—While our planet burns Amazon funds climate deniers + works with fossil fuel companies to help them find oil quicker and more effectively. This Cyber Monday we're watching you," Athena wrote on Twitter before Amazon's announcement about its additional renewable energy projects.

Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer also used Cyber Monday to advocate for a wealth tax using Bezos as an example.

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"Last year on Cyber Monday, Jeff Bezos's wealth grew by $6.28 billion," Steyer wrote on Twitter on Monday. "It would take a family saving $100k a year for 62,800 years to save what he made in those 24 hours. A system that creates this much inequality is broken and immoral—and it's exactly why we need a wealth tax."