Wind power company Enel Green Power (EGP) and beer maker Anheuser-Busch announced an agreement Wednesday whereby Anheuser-Busch will purchase more than half the energy capacity of the Thunder Ranch wind farm, currently under construction in Garfield, Kay and Noble counties.

EGP began construction of the 298 megawatt facility in May on 60,000 acres near Billings, and the project is expected to be operational by the end of the year, according to an EGP press release.

Under the deal unveiled Wednesday, Anheuser-Busch will purchase 152.5 megawatts of power from the facility once it’s operational.

The purchase agreement marks an effort by the beer maker’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, to secure 100 percent of purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025, according to the EGP press release.

“As we strive to bring people together to build a better world, we at Anheuser-Busch are dedicated to reducing our carbon emissions,” said João Castro Neves, president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch. “Helping to grow the renewable energy market is not only good for the environment, it is a strategic business move as we strive for long-term sustainability. Now more than ever, we are excited to lead our company’s global effort toward a renewable future and, partnering with Enel, set an industry example of how major companies can help to make a difference in climate change.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Anheuser-Busch, a company, which like the Enel Group, is taking great strides to help tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Antonio Cammisecra, CEO of Enel Green Power. “Power purchase agreements are an attractive model that provide not only an avenue for growth, but also revenue certainty through stable pricing.”

Under Wednesday’s agreement EGP will sell to Anheuser-Busch the electricity output delivered to the grid by a 152.5 MW portion of the Thunder Ranch wind farm. This output is expected to amount to approximately 610 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy each year, enough renewable electricity to produce more than 20 billion 12 ounce servings of beer annually, according to the EGP press release.

The purchase agreement will provide sufficient power to meet up to 50 percent of Anheuser-Busch’s total annual purchased electricity, a boost from current renewable energy sourcing of about two percent, according to the EGP press release.

The Thunder Ranch wind farm is expected to produce power equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed annually by approximately 89,400 U.S. households, and represents a $435 million investment by EGP, according to the company’s figures.

In a prepared statement released with the EGP announcement state Sen. Roland Pederson, R-Burlington, said both the wind farm and the new purchase agreement are good news for Northwest Oklahoma.

“This is a win win for Garfield, Kay and Noble counties,” Pederson said. “From landowner payments, property tax revenue, and jobs, the announcement by Anheuser-Busch and Enel Green Power is great news for Northwestern Oklahoma.”

Story provided by:  Enid News and Eagle

Written by:  James Neal