Budweiser uses super bowl ad to promote wind power

Somehow I made it on Budweiser’s email list, as I received an “exclusive first look” at their Super Bowl commercial last week. While I am not a huge beer fan, I was thrilled the ad features traditional Budweiser symbols: dogs and Clydesdales.

Then wind turbines appeared, and the Bob Dylan song playing in the background—“Blowin’ in the Wind,” of course—confirmed the King of Beers is once again going political during the Super Bowl. (Budweiser drew ire from critics in 2017 over its Super Bowl immigration ad.)

Budweiser’s wind-powered message claims the beer is now brewed with renewable electricity from wind power. “The time has come to take action and help build a better future for us all. That’s why wind has never felt better. We made the switch to clean electricity, now you can too.”

But is the answer to building a better future really “blowin’ in the wind” if the wind isn’t always blowing? The Budweiser Wind Farm is located outside Billings, Oklahoma (part of the MISO region along with Minnesota), where, as my colleague Isaac Orr wrote about here, wind has recently been producing only four percent of electricity and only utilizing 24 percent of its installed capacity.

Wind power also fails to create the “clean electricity ” Budweiser is pushing for because of wind’s intermittency. It cannot reliably produce electricity all of the time, and is therefore not achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The answer, my friend, to our energy future isn’t blowin’ in the wind.