Australian brewer joins solar club

Australia’s leading brewer, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has made an agreement to purchase solar power today, joining the growing club of brewers adding renewable energy to their brewing operations.

Miller Coors constructed a 3.3 MW solar facility at their Irwindale California brewery in 2015, Anheuser Busch (Budweiser) announced in January of this year that the electricity used in brewing its beer would come totally from renewable sources and Heineken announced its intention to increase the percentage of renewable energy in its operation to 70% by 2030.

Part of a worldwide commitment

CUB is  the Australian subsidiary of the world’s largest brewer, AB InBev. In May of 2017 AB InBev announced a commitment to secure 100% of the company’s purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The company also joined  RE100, a global initiative of influential businesses that are all committed to using 100% renewable electricity.

CUB has  a 12-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with German renewable energy developer, service provider and wholesaler, BayWa r.e. BayWa r.e. will provide 74,000 MWh per year of renewable energy, enough to power 7,500 homes, sourced from its solar farm in Mildura, Victoria.

Miller Coors solar panels
CUB will also be adding solar panels, like this MillerCoors facility in California

CUB is also moving towards onsite solar generation, which will see solar panels on the roofs at each of its breweries. Sites will remain connected to the grid, allowing excess capacity to be fed back into the system.

While there is certainly a marketing aspect to supporting renewable energy, CUB’s CEO Jan Craps also stressed the business realities and advantages. “Beyond our driving commitment to reduce our emissions, the investment also stacks up when you look at the reduced price we will pay to power our operations. Moving to renewable energy will ensure that we have certainty of supply and pricing, something that is incredibly important for a manufacturing business like ours.”

Construction of the 112 MW solar farm is underway and BayWa r.e. has already self-financed and constructed the 4km grid connection. It will be built by Melbourne-based Beon Energy Solutions. 

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