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The VERBUND Pinos Puente Solar Park near Granada in southern Spain is another milestone on the road towards energy transformation. On an area of 161 hectares, solar electricity is generated for climate-friendly brewed beer. The project is one of the largest cross-border solar energy deals in Europe to date: the solar park was developed by BayWa r.e, is operated by VERBUND, and generates green electricity for the world’s leading brewer AB InBev.
The energy crisis currently holds many parts of the world in a firm grip. Switching swiftly to renewable energy and reducing dependence on fossil fuels has never been more important. The VERBUND Solar Park in Pinos Puente, near Granada in Spain, is an example of a joint and sustainable way forward. With AB InBev, BayWa r.e., and VERBUND, three leading companies in Europe have joined forces in a Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) for the energy transition.
Construction began in May 2021, and on September 28th, 2022, the VERBUND Pinos Puente Solar Park was ceremonially opened by the three companies in the presence of local and international stakeholders and guests.
The 161-hectare Solar Park Pinos Puente will generate approximately 260-gigawatt hours (GWh) of emission-free electricity per year with a planned total capacity of 147.6 megawatts-peak (MWp).
Through the 10-year VPPA deal made between AB InBev and BayWa r.e., the solar park forms part of one of the largest Pan-European corporate solar power deals in history. This will see the brewer of brands such as Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois, supplied with 250-gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable electricity per year, which will come from the VERBUND solar park and a second expected to be connected to the grid by the end of October. This is enough electricity to brew over 10 billion beers per year or enable an electric car to drive around the whole of Europe 1.2 million times.
The deal, which enables AB InBev beers across Western Europe to be brewed with 100% renewable electricity, covers 14 of its breweries in Western Europe and more than 50 brands across 12 countries, including Budweiser. It will play an instrumental role in supporting the brewer’s 2025 Climate Action goal and its ambition to achieve net zero across its full value chain by 2040.
Erik Novaes, Vice-President Procurement & Sustainability Europe, AB InBev said, “With a global energy crisis and the growing impact of climate change keenly felt across much of Europe this Summer, we are focused on building climate resilience and driving forward our push towards decarbonization.”
Cybelle Buyck, Vice-President Legal & Corporate Affairs Europe, AB InBev, adds, “Our global purpose, a future with more cheers, represents shared prosperity, for our communities, for the planet, and for our company. Sustainability is a foundational part of our company and we are immensely proud to see the park open and to embark on this next chapter with our partners.”
Rapid independence from fossil fuels is the only way to counter the climate crisis and secure European energy supplies in the wake of the Ukraine war and the sharp rise in electricity and gas prices. “We must act decisively: Every additional kilowatt hour from renewable energies is an important step for the energy transition. With projects such as the Pinos Puente solar park, we are driving the rapid switch to renewables in Europe,” explains Michael Strugl, CEO of VERBUND, Austria’s leading energy company and one of the biggest producers of hydropower in Europe.
VERBUND has set ambitious goals in its Strategy 2030: The expansion of renewable energy in Europe is a key pillar – in addition to strengthening the integrated home market in Austria and Germany and establishing itself as a European hydrogen player. By 2030, up to a quarter of VERBUND’s electricity generation is to come from wind power and photovoltaics. The Pinos Puente solar park marks its entry into the Spanish market.
Matthias Taft, CEO, BayWa r.e adds, “We are simultaneously experiencing a global climate and energy crises. Addressed together, we have an opportunity to propel forward the renewable transition, increase energy security and transform energy markets. To do this, we must realize many more renewable projects and sign many more PPAs. Great projects and collaborations like this show the way forward.”