AB InBev brewing with renewable energy in pipeline
The roll-out of the solar power plants comes as Eskom’s constrained grid fails to meet demand and load shedding plunged South Africa into darkness in December. Taryn Rosekilly, the vice-president of procurement and sustainability at SAB and AB InBev Africa, said the move highlighted the private sector’s strong drive towards reducing carbon emissions and procuring renewable energy solutions.
“Not only is solar a viable and cost-effective option for us, but it also aligns to our global sustainability strategy, which entails going 100 percent renewable by 2025,” said Rosekilly.
AB InBev Africa said the solar power plant followed the signing of seven multi-tiered Power Purchase Agreements with around 8.7 megawatt (MW) capacity with the Sola Group, a company focused on developing solar plants. It said of this, 2.6MW had already reached practical completion with the remaining projects in advanced stages of construction.
Rosekilly said the solar power would partially power each facility and represented 7percent of the business’s electricity requirements.
“This is equivalent to taking approximately 2000 vehicles off South African roads. This installation will allow for all electricity consumed for the production of its global brand, Budweiser, at its Rosslyn Brewery north of Pretoria, to be sourced from Renewable Energy,” the company said.
Rosekilly said InBev Africa had achieved its 50percent target in key markets across the globe ahead of schedule and was well on track to achieve its 100 percent ambition with good progress being made in Africa.
The solar plants are in line with the group’s global renewable energy commitment to acquire half of the company electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 and 100percent by 2025. SAB and AB InBev Africa were in the process of working on a Pan African Renewable Energy tender, which would seek to source an equivalent of 440MW of solar capacity in order to meet its 2025 target in Africa.
This tender, which represented an initial R5.6billion investment for the installation at these facilities, that would be invested by the business’s development partners with a further R12.4bn in energy cost that would be committed by AB InBev over 20 years.
Gugulethu Nogaya, the renewable energy procurement manager at AB InBev Africa, said that procuring renewable energy was part of the group’s sustainability objectives set at a global level. “In order to meet the AB InBev 100percent target in South Africa, it will require solar renewable energy facilities to the total of 191MW,” Nogaya said.