FAIRFIELD — Anheuser-Busch’s drive to make itself more energy self-sufficient takes a big step forward with the construction of a second large wind turbine behind the brewery, west of town.
Work crews from San Francisco-based Foundation Power carefully lifted the turbine nacelle to the top of a 213-foot tower as Anheuser-Busch employees watched Thursday morning.
Crews started work early to take advantage of lighter prevailing winds. As long as the winds stayed under 20 mph, the work could continue. If winds stay low Friday, the turbine blades will be lifted into place.
“This is great,” said Damon Waker, Anheuser-Busch’s resident engineer.
“We are always looking for more innovative ways to live in a better world,” Waker said of the company’s campaign to make brewery operations more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Foundation Windpower filed an application last year with Fairfield to build the turbine with a 213-foot-tall tower next to the brewery. The turbine is 350 feet from the ground to the top of an upturned blade.
Once it becomes operational in October, it will generate 1.6 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 305 homes.
Foundation Windpower erected the first wind turbine in late 2011, with a 20-year agreement to sell electricity to the brewery.
This is the 36th turbine the company has put up. It has others scattered across the state, from Red Bluff to the Mexican border. The design of the one at the Anheuser-Busch brewery was described as “the workhorse” of the turbine industry, according to Foundation Windpower Director of Operations Steven Grant.
This new turbine, combined with the output of the first one, brings the Fairfield brewery’s total alternative energy generation to 4.1 megawatts, or about 30 percent of the brewery’s electricity needs.
The two turbines are part of Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to environmental stewardship it refers to as from “seed to sip.”
Anheuser-Busch’s Fairfield brewery also has 6,500 solar panels covering about 7 acres and uses methane from its brewing wastewater to reduce natural gas usage.
It has reduced its overall water usage by 47 percent since 2007. The brewery also recycles more than 99 percent of the solid waste used in its brewing and packaging processes.
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