Budweiser Brewer Signs Europe’s ‘Largest Corporate Solar PPA’
Deal is the latest part of AB InBev’s pursuit of 100 percent renewables and another sign of Europe’s growing corporate PPA market.
InBev, the brewer of Budweiser and an array of other beers, has signed a 130-megawatt solar power purchase agreement, which it calls the largest "pan-European corporate solar" power-purchase agreement so far.
The deal, with German renewables developer BayWa r.e., will supply enough electricity for 14 breweries in Western Europe.
BayWa will finance and develop two new solar projects in Spain totaling 200 megawatts, with InBev's virtual PPA acting as the linchpin.
Completion of the projects — one of them to be called the Budweiser Solar Farm — is expected by March 2022. BayWa will additionally provide the company with 75 gigawatt-hours’ worth of guarantees of origin certificates from a Spanish wind farm.
Altogether, it's sufficient power to brew “enough beer for 18 Oktoberfests,” according to BayWa r.e.
AB InBev has been ramping up its renewables procurements. At the end of 2018, AB InBev agreed a 15-year, 100-megawatt deal with Lightsource BP to supply its U.K. operations. It has a 152.5-megawatt agreement in place with Enel Green Power for its U.S. operations.
Once 100 percent of its operations are powered by renewables, Budweiser intends to adorn each bottle sold in the U.K. and U.S. with a symbol declaring that fact.
"As we welcome the new European Green Deal, we now ask our consumers, customers, colleagues, business partners and fellow companies to join us in shifting toward renewable power," Jason Warner, president for Europe, AB InBev, said in a statement.
Europe has lagged the U.S. in corporate renewables PPAs. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 86 percent of corporate PPAs signed at the halfway point in 2019 had been signed in the Americas.
Some European markets have had the benefit of set subsidies even recently, negating the need to find alternative revenue streams. Others have not had the right regulatory framework in place for corporate PPAs, and demand has been slow to build.
But a growing number of European corporations now have 100 percent renewable targets and other low-carbon targets, and the falling cost of solar and offshore wind in particular are forcing the rest to reassess the opportunity.
In December Ørsted agreed a 100-megawatt corporate PPA, the biggest in the offshore wind sector so far.
In Europe, tech giants Google and Microsoft have been among the first movers, just as they were in the U.S. They have been joined by airports, supermarkets, telecommunication firms and more. The RE100 program, under which companies pledge to switch to renewables, now includes more than 200 firms, among them Ikea, GM, Nestle and Unilver.
A European Commission document published in 2019 recommended that EU member states should encourage corporate PPAs as much as possible. It states that all governments should have a functioning guarantee of origin scheme in place, should enable cross-border PPAs, and should be driving down renewable power prices via competitive auctions.