Brown-Forman invests in renewable wind energy
Brown-Forman Corp. – the company behind Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve – plans to purchase 30 megawatts (MW) of electricity annually from Solomon Forks Wind Project, a new wind power project in Kansas.
The wind farm is expected to generate the equivalent of more than 90 percent of Brown-Forman’s annual electricity usage in the United States, according to a release. Brown-Forman is the first major U.S. spirits and wine producer to commit to a power purchase agreement in the country.
Power purchase agreements allow companies to invest in renewable energy generation on a large scale and publicly demonstrate a commitment to renewable energy. The arrangements also provide a stable price for power over the length of the contract.
Brown-Forman will purchase the wind power generated over the next 15 years and retain ownership of the resulting renewable energy credits to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from electricity usage at its U.S. facilities. The electricity generated by the wind farm will then be sold on the wholesale market.
“It takes energy to distill and produce our high-quality spirits and wines. 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,” said Rob Frederick, Brown-Forman vice president of corporate responsibility.
The Solomon Forks Wind Project is on more than 50,000 acres of land near the city of Colby in northwestern Kansas. Construction activities for the entire project are slated to commence in 2018, with commercial operation targeted for 2019.
Renewable energy accounted for the majority of new installed global energy capacity in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency, and power purchase agreements by companies in the U.S. have totaled close to six gigawatts since 2015.
In 2012, Brown-Forman set a series of environmental goals, including adopting an ambitious target to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2023. While the company will continue to pursue additional reduction opportunities within its own operations, the power purchase agreement will enable the company to meet this target once construction of the Solomon Forks Wind Project is complete.