Anheuser-Busch Will be 100% Renewable 4 Years Early

June 5, 2019

One more demonstration that companies, states, or countries, that take steps down the path to renewable energy, meet with greater success, faster, and more cheaply, than they ever imagined.

Fast Company:

When a new solar farm is completed on a sprawling, 2,000-acre site in Pecos County, Texas, by early 2021, every beer that Anheuser-Busch makes in the U.S. will come with a purchase of renewable electricity equal to the power used to brew it.

The company, which originally planned to reach a goal of using 100% renewable electricity to brew its beer by 2025, announced today that it would accomplish that four years early. The brewer already buys renewable electricity credits from a wind farm in Oklahoma (the wind farm doesn’t directly send power to the company’s breweries, but Anheuser-Busch buys an equivalent amount of power from the facility). The credits that it buys from the new solar farm will cover the rest of its electricity use.

It’s the largest solar deal of its kind for an American beverage company. The project will generate as much electricity as it takes to brew 20 billion 12-ounce servings of beer each year. Brewing beer also uses heat that currently comes from fossil fuels, so the shift to renewable electricity doesn’t solve all of the company’s energy challenges–it’s just a first step.

The goal is part of a larger sustainability agenda for the company that also involves developing barley varieties that can help farmers use less water, placing orders for electric and hydrogen-powered delivery trucks, and cutting water use at its 12 large U.S. breweries roughly in half over the last 10 years. “Sustainability is our business, because we rely on crops and water in order to have our final product,” says Michel Doukeris, president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch. Like other companies that rely on agriculture, it faces direct risks from the impacts of climate change, from drought to flooding.

Because the cost of solar power has fallen so dramatically, the project can have both climate and financial benefits, says Ty Daul, president of Recurrent Energy, the firm developing the new solar farm. The same thing is true for other businesses now committing to buy solar. “As we’ve been able to improve efficiencies and drive out costs and really get that cost of energy down, we’re seeing companies doing it for multiple reasons, including economic decisions. So it’s not just sustainability. That has helped with demand. But where we’re heading is more and more of an economic decision.”

Anheuser-Busch’s example is spreading. The first 100 percent renewable dance club opens in Chile…

Lonely Planet:

This week, La Feria in Santiago, Chile’s Barrio Bellavista became the first nightclub in the world to sustainably cover 100% of the energy it uses. In a collaboration with Budweiser dubbed BUDXLAFERIA RENOVABLE, the project included carefully retrofitting the historical structure with 35 photovoltaic panels on the roof and in the main wall. In total the facility will produce 1299 kWh of energy monthly – more than enough to power its strobe lighting, cool down overheated clubgoers, run the sound system and provide all other electrical needs. This translates to a saving of 6.51 tons of CO2 annually that would have been otherwise emitted into the atmosphere – more than what five houses would consume.

“Chile is at the forefront of sustainability in the region and probably the world,” says Budweiser brand director Andrés Chaveyriat, who goes on to admit that that philosophy hadn’t permeated the bar scene, however – until now. “We hope this initiative can inspire and motivate other clubs in Chile and that in a few years [those that] operate on renewable energy are the rule and not the exception.”

5 Responses to “Anheuser-Busch Will be 100% Renewable 4 Years Early”

  1. jmmirsky Says:

    The headline to this article is very misleading. As AB’s video documents, AB will only be 100% renewable when it comes to its electrical power usage. While that is a positive step forward, especially given the company reached that milestone four years ahead of its original target date, it is far from being truly 100% renewable as the headline claims. For example, there is no mention of using renewable energy for heating, both for its brewing processes as well as for its buildings; there is also no mention of using renewable energy for its transportation related activities. These are significant energy uses and lead to significant GHG emissions. Let’s laud AB for what it has achieved to date but push it to accelerate its efforts to move to 100% clean and renewable for ALL of its operations.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Ho-Hum—-more good news that isn’t as good as it looks.

    Digest this portion (emphasis added). “The project will generate AS MUCH ELECTRICITY AS IT TAKES to brew 20 billion 12-ounce servings of beer each year. BREWING BEER ALSO USES HEAT THAT CURRENTLY COMES FROM FOSSIL FUELS”.

    Those fossil fuels are COAL and natural gas, used early in the brewing process in the brewhouse in fairly large quantities as a thermal source. Electricity, which is much more expensive, is used later, mainly for refrigeration, and Budweiser is just trying to save the most $$$$—-nice that they can get good PR by looking so green.

    It might be nice to know that they are going to commit to using no more fossil fuels (COAL) as they babble on about “the next ten years”.

  3. rsmurf Says:

    Good for them, but their bill still tastes like crap!

  4. jerrydogood Says:

    AB operates 24/7/365. It is not going to operate when it is dark, very cloudy, snowing or with fog on solar power so it is not going to be 100 percent solar ever. Most current solar power systems operate about 30 percent of the time, the rest of the time they sit idle. It may generate surplus power when the sun is shining at peak solar times which it may plan to sell to the local power companies at rates subsidized by the local power companies other customers so AB can pretend it is 100 percent renewable. Since the customers are not 100 percent renewable either all the way up to point of sale this claim is simply BS PR to make the company look good. All that solar is good for state and federal tax money so the company will be shafting you the taxpayer as well as the local power company customers for this PR puffing. If the company gets zero tax rebates, zero prices in excess of the lowest power company buying price for power than we the people should applaud this step but it is unlikely the company would build without a bunch of money from you taken as taxes or higher prices for power.

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