Beer giant Anheuser-Busch announced Tuesday the signing of a 15-year virtual power-purchase agreement with Recurrent Energy for a 222-megawatt (AC) project in West Texas.
In 2017, Anheuser-Busch committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025. It’s previously inked renewables deals with AES Distributed Energy on a 2.76-megawatt solar project in New York and with Enel Green Power for 152.5 megawatts of wind in Oklahoma.
With the Recurrent announcement, the company — famous for beverages including Bud Light and the Lime-A-Rita — said it would achieve its 2025 target several years early. The Texas project, Recurrent’s largest C&I deal to date, is slated to come online in 2021.
The project from Recurrent, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar, joins many corporate deals cropping up around Texas. Canadian Solar says it has signed more than 1.3 gigawatts’ worth of renewables project deals in the service territory of ERCOT, the grid manager for 25 million Texas customers.
“We’re seeing significant interest not only from players like Anheuser-Busch but also from conventional energy companies,” a Recurrent spokesperson said in an email. “Solar is extremely cost competitive in today’s market.”
Super-low prices on power-purchase agreements under $30 per megawatt have made Texas a growing hot spot for corporate solar development. Starbucks recently signed a deal with Cypress Creek Renewables in the state, and this month Facebook announced it had made its first direct investment in a renewables project there.
According to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, last year was a record for commercial and industrial renewables deals in the United States, with companies procuring 6.63 gigawatts (that sum excludes on-site generation). So far in 2019, companies such as Gap and more typical customers like Google have signed contracts amounting to 1.49 gigawatts.
While the overall U.S. corporate renewables market is looking increasingly diverse, with small-scale aggregation becoming more common, Recurrent’s deal for the West Texas project looks fairly traditional: a large project with one offtaker accounting for most of the power.
Beyond Anheuser-Busch, Energy Transfer — the company behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline — signed a contract for 28 megawatts (AC) from the Maplewood project, located in West Texas’ Permian Basin. It’s the oil and gas transport company’s first solar contract.
In addition to diversification in the types of corporate renewables deals being struck in the U.S., the market is attracting companies from a growing list of industries, including oil and gas. Shell and ExxonMobil have also signed on to solar projects in West Texas, where cheap solar power is increasingly supporting the activities of the oil and gas industry.