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Solar news: January 24th, 2020

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, we highlight two stories from the corporate renewables space – one detailing InBev’s goal to brew Budweiser using renewable energy, and another on Microsoft’s goal to go carbon negative by 2030.

InBev and BayWa r.e. announce deal to brew Budweiser with 100% renewable energy

InBev, the world’s leading brewer and the company behind Budweiser, the most valuable beer brand in the world, is planning to power its European brewing operations with 100% renewable energy. Their recently signed deal with BayWa r.e., a global renewable energy developer, is a ten-year power purchase agreement (PPA) through which InBev purchased over 130 megawatts (MW) of solar power, more than enough to power their 14 breweries in Western Europe. The deal is the largest Pan-European corporate solar power deal ever inked.

Two new solar farms are included as part of the deal, funded and developed by BayWa r.e. In Spain. One will be called the Budweiser Solar Farm, and will provide 250 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable electricity each year to InBev’s breweries. The energy purchased through the 10 year PPA is enough to power almost 670,000 European homes.

Matthias Taft, CEO of BayWa r.e., commented on the deal: “Consumers increasingly want to make ‘green’ choices with the products they buy. Leading brands, like Budweiser, are showing the way and we are proud to be supporting AB InBev in their own renewable energy transition. Corporations are the new driving force in this transition and, within the retail sector, it means consumers can help play a part in combating climate change through the buying decisions they make. In addition, AB InBev is able to source affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.”

Microsoft launches $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund, aims to be carbon negative by 2030

You may have heard of corporations promising to become “carbon neutral”, which is a goal to reduce carbon emissions from the business’s operation to zero. Microsoft is taking it a step further, announcing a new $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund and a pledge to become “carbon negative” by 2030. Carbon negative (also referred to as “climate positive”) means not just being net neutral from an emissions perspective, but actively removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Microsoft’s total yearly emissions are somewhere around 4 million metric tons. Throw in the company’s entire supply chain, building materials, business travel, and the full product lifecycle, that number balloons to 16 million total annual metric tons. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke to the company’s ambitious goal to bring that number to zero at an event announcing the Climate Innovation Fund: “The scientific consensus is clear — the world today is confronted with an urgent carbon crisis,” Nadella said onstage. “If we don’t cut emissions and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us the results will be devastating. Each of us is going to need to take action. And that includes businesses. No one company can solve this macro challenge alone, but as a global technology company we have a particular responsibility to do our part. That’s why today, we’re announcing an ambitious new plan to help address the sustainability of our planet. Today we’re making the commitment that by 2030, Microsoft will be carbon negative.”

The new Climate Innovation Fund will aim to accelerate global carbon reduction, capture, and removal technology development through both investments in ongoing technology development and investments in new innovations via equity or debt capital.


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