British brewed Budweiser beer will be produced using solar power as part of the biggest unsubsidised renewable electricity deal in UK history. Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) generates more than 17 million cans and bottles of Budweiser beer each week from its two main breweries in Magor, South Wales, and Samlesbury in Lancashire.
Under a new 15-year agreement, the world’s biggest brewer will partner with Europe’s largest solar energy company, Lightsource BP, to purchase 100 percent renewable electricity for its UK operations. Lightsource BP will build new solar farms spanning 500 acres and generating 100 megawatts of power to produce enough electricity for the AB InBev’s breweries. The energy due to be generated is enough to power the equivalent of 18,000 homes.
The new solar capacity is expected to be added and connected by Lightsource BP at the end of next year and all Budweiser brewed and sold in the UK will feature a new symbol, already rolled out across the US, to encourage consumers to choose a beer that has been brewed with 100 percent renewable electricity. AB InBev says once it has switched to renewable electricity across Budweiser’s brewing operations, it will be the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off roads every year.
Jason Warner, Zone President for Europe at AB InBev, said: “This deal is about driving positive change in what people buy in their weekly shop, order in the pub or drink with friends.” He added: “We want to build a movement towards celebrating and growing renewable electricity, and are asking our consumers, customers, colleagues, business partners and fellow companies to join us – we are making our 100 percent renewable electricity symbol available for any brands who share these values.”
In March last year, the Belgian beer giant boldly pledged that all of its purchased electricity worldwide would come from renewable sources by 2025. The international beer giant, which also owns Stella Artois, has 264 breweries and approximately 200,000 employees across more than 50 countries. It has already made progress in shifting to renewable electricity in the United States, Australia, Mexico, China and India. If achieved, AB InBev’s global commitment would make it the largest corporate buyer of renewable electricity in the consumer goods industry.
Nick Boyle, Group CEO at Lightsource BP, said: “We have reached a pivotal point in the UK energy sector where unsubsidised solar is going to truly make its mark as the cheapest form of energy generation, even compared to wind. We are proud to be at the forefront of this transition with AB InBev, demonstrating that solar makes an ideal partner for corporate power.” AB InBev is a member of RE100, an association of leading companies with operations all over the world, spanning a variety of sectors, from telecommunications and IT to cement and automobile manufacturing. Together, the group is committed to going “100 percent renewable.”
Among its partners is Apple, which, in 2015, used 93 percent renewable energy; IKEA which by 2020 is committed to producing as much renewable power as the energy consumed by its buildings; and Coca-Cola, which is planning to power all of its bases with renewable electricity by next year.