May 6, 2021 - Technology

Amazon Web Services looks to help clean energy startups take flight

Illustration of a watering can watering a plant in the shape of a gear.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched a "clean energy accelerator" this morning to help advance startups with climate-friendly technologies.

Why it matters: It's the latest step in the tech sector's expanding climate work, even as the industry remains under pressure from activists over its work with oil-and-gas clients.

How it works: Amazon plans to select 10 startups for a five-week program to provide help in areas like training, marketing, business pilot opportunities and more.

  • The applicants will have access to AWS computing, machine learning, analytics and other services.
  • The program also offers "collaboration opportunities with AWS energy customers," it said.
  • They're looking for startups working in energy storage, carbon capture, hydrogen, smart grids and other technologies.
  • AWS is working in conjunction with the firm Freshwater Advisors, which helps connect startups with large corporations.

Catch up fast: In late 2019, Amazon vowed to become net-zero emissions by 2040 and has recruited other companies to join its "climate pledge."

  • Its overall climate efforts include a big contract with the electric vehicle startup Rivian for electric delivery vans; renewable power procurement; and venture investing.

What they're saying: Amazon, in announcing the accelerator, called it part of the path toward meeting the 2040 pledge.

  • "This commitment will require innovation from large scale, established organizations to startups across the energy industry," said AWS vice president of energy Shane Owenby.

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