Raise a Glass: US Whiskey Giant Brown-Forman Toasts 30MW Wind Power Deal

World | Wind Energy

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

US spirits and wine producer Brown-Forman has inked a 15-year deal with energy developer Infinity Renewables to purchase 30MW of power each year from an onshore wind project currently under construction in Kansas.

The drinks giant – which produces global brands such as Jack Daniels, Pepe Lopez tequila, and Finlandia vodka – claimed the move made it the first major spirits and wine producer in the US to commit to a corporate power purchase agreement (PPA).

Once operational next year, the firm expects the Solomon Forks wind farm to help meet the equivalent of more than 90 per cent of its annual electricity usage in the United States.

Construction of the 474MW project, which is located on over 50,000 acres of land near the city of Colby in northwestern Kansas, is slated to begin this year with commercial operations earmarked for 2019.

Brown-Forman said it would purchase the wind power generated over the next 15 years from Infinity Renewables and retain ownership of the resulting renewable energy credits to offset the emissions from electricity usage at its US facilities. The electricity generated by the wind farm will then be sold on the wholesale market, explained the firm’s VP for corporate responsibility Rob Frederick.

“It takes energy to distil and produce our high quality spirits and wines,” he said in a statement. “This new wind project will add new renewable energy capacity to the grid and demonstrates our commitment to a lower carbon economy. We believe that renewable energy is a prime solution for a sustainable energy future.”

Brown-Forman has a target to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent by 2023 from 2012 levels, and the PPA is aimed helping the firm meet this goal while it also continues to “pursue additional reduction opportunities within its own operations”, it explained.

Energy consultants Schneider Electric worked with Brown-Forman to arrange the PPA deal. “This partnership demonstrates how forward-looking companies like Brown-Forman are approaching their energy use, and leading the way with their investment in low-cost, clean energy that is both good for their business and society,” said Steve White, Schneider Electric’s senior VP for energy and sustainability services.

Brown-Forman is not the only US company to enter into a PPA deal for energy generated by the Solomon Forks wind farm.

Last August, discount retailer Target also secured an agreement with Infinity Renewables to buy 100MW of the energy produced by the project in order to offset 100 per cent of the energy used at 150 Target stores throughout the region.

Source: businessgreen.com