Budweiser’s 100% Renewable Energy Start: Two Death Projects

“It’s time for Anheuser-Busch to shed its superficial ‘green’ veneer and take corrective action to reverse the harms its wind purchases have caused. This includes publicly abandoning the ‘100% renewable energy’ goal which, if continued, is certain to bring more, and greater international destruction.”

The latest in corporate virtue signaling comes courtesy of Budweiser with its Super Bowl ad featuring Bob Dylan, a dog, the iconic Clydesdales, and, yes, wind turbines. The message of the piece is clear: We’re doing our part to better the planet and so can you …by downing a few.

Budweiser’s wind play centers on two 15-year power contracts signed by parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) to acquire wind energy from projects in north-central Oklahoma (Thunder Ranch) and Mexico (the “Eolic Industrial Park of Renewable Energy” or PIER IV). The company’s goal is to reach 100% renewables by 2025.

The ad roll-out triggered a bevy of positive press for the global brewer, but for Angie Slaughter, VP of Sustainability, full credit belongs to her Bud buyers. “Our consumers,” she says, “are … educated on these topics. They’re informed, they have high expectations on companies concerning the products we make.”

Really? Exactly how informed? We decided to check a few facts for ourselves.

Thunder Ranch: Eagle Killer in Oklahoma

Italian utility giant, Enel, energized the 298 MW Thunder Ranch facility in December 2017. Its one hundred-and-twenty, 500-foot-tall turbines span 136 square miles (87,015 acres) in a near-linear east-west array smack in the migratory path of the federally endangered Whooping Crane.

Each 3-bladed rotor assembly sweeps an airspace equal in size to two football fields, posing a collision risk for any bird (or bat) flying through. But that’s not all.

Thunder Ranch is located in rich bald eagle habitat bounded on three sides by rivers. The project site includes 463 linear miles of river tributaries, acres of wetlands and freshwater ponds, and numerous active eagle nests.

In May, Enel filed an application seeking federal permission to destroy four dozen bald eagles. The request will likely be granted. US federal agencies have shown a tendency to put wind energy development ahead of national wildlife concerns. (For examples, see here, here and here).

There’s still time for the public to object.[1]  Any bets whether Ms. Slaughter and her informed Bud consumers will step-up?

PIER
IV: A crime against human rights and nature in Mexico

Details regarding AB
InBev’s Mexico wind purchase are less known since most of the news appears in
Spanish-speaking media. But what we do know should alarm any Bud drinker, and a
few planet-conscious corporate execs.

The 84-turbine, PIER IV facility (220.5 MW) under construction by the international mega-corporation, Iberdrola, is dubbed ‘Proyecto de Muerte’ or Death Project by Mexican locals for good reason.

At a public forum in April, communities impacted by the project challenged Iberdrola’s taking of communal lands (ejídos) without consultation, proper permission, or compensation. Farmers (ejidatarios), complained they’ve been refused access to the land and their rights to plant or build in the area abrogated for the next 30 years without “prior, free and informed consultation.”

They fear a lack of environmental studies examining how the project will impact them and their livelihoods.

In May, Mexico’s
Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources reported
that the project produced irreversible environmental damage
spanning over
4,438 hectares (11,000 acres) resulting in the substantial loss of original
forest value.

To mitigate for some of the damage, especially near the sensitive Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve,[2] Iberdrola reportedly “relocated more than 85,000 specimens of 40 species of flora and 250 animals of 21 species.” No information is available regarding the quality and condition of the plants and wildlife moved, where they were moved to, or whether Iberdrola paid any penalty for the damage.

This is not the
first time Iberdrola inflamed Mexican residents over their wind pursuits. The
company faced
similar criticisms
a few years back for failing
to consult
with local communities, deceptive land lease practices, not paying
land rents or paying meaningless sums, environmental
abuses
, and  misleading
claims of economic benefit
.

A legal
challenge
to PIER IV is under consideration and could prove successful. In
2018, the Mexican Supreme Court halted
construction
of a wind project by another developer for nearly identical
violations.

Anheuser-Busch’s Blind Move

AB InBev’s public
statements
regarding its shift to wind demonstrate a narrow mindset fixated
on reducing carbon, with no evidence the company ever considered, or even cared
to know the damaging consequences of its climate policy. Why should they? If
hosts of environmental groups and progressive politicians are willing to vouch
for wind power, why buck the trend?

But Ignorance is no excuse. AB InBev
and Ms. Slaughter should know better.

It’s now time for Anheuser-Busch to shed its superficial ‘green’ veneer and take corrective action to reverse the harms its wind purchases have caused. This includes publicly abandoning the ‘100% renewable energy’ goal which, if continued, is certain to bring more, and greater international destruction. 


[1] The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s public comment period closes on August 13, 2019.

[2] In 2018, the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The post Budweiser’s 100% Renewable Energy Start: Two Death Projects appeared first on Master Resource.

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July 22, 2019 at 01:06AM

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