FAIRFIELD — Ball Metal, the North Bay Regional Water Treatment Plant and Anheuser-Busch all have plans to get greener.
Ball Metal wants to erect an electricity-generating wind turbine and Anheuser-Busch wants to install solar collectors, according to plans submitted to the Fairfield Community Development Department. In addition, city officials said solar panels should soon go up at its water treatment plant.
Ball Metal is located at 2400 Huntington Drive in the Tolenas Industrial Park in eastern Fairfield. It has made beverage cans there since 1976.
The company proposes to erect a one-megawatt Mitsubishi turbine with a 181-foot-tall tower. The height would be 282 feet from the ground to the top of an upturned blade. Foundation Windpower of San Francisco submitted the plans.
“Ball Corp. wishes to improve its business by saving money on electricity expenses and to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions from its Fairfield facility,” the application said.
Wind is particularly strong on summer afternoons, which Pacific Gas & Electric Co. considers the peak electrical demand hours, the application said. The power to be generated annually by the turbine would be enough to power 187 average homes, it said.
Clorox has property within the setback area from the proposed turbine location. Clorox Plant manager Dean Fisher in a letter on file with Fairfield said the company is willing to waive the setback requirement.
“In general, Clorox supports efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of Fairfield’s industrial locations,” Fisher wrote. “We may consider a similar project ourselves and wish to retain all rights necessary to consider such a project.”
Ball Metal is located near Travis Air Force Base. The Ball Metal application said that the Federal Aviation Administration has determined the proposed turbine would not present a hazard to planes. It added that the FAA consults with the Department of Defense.
“We intend to work with the people at Travis Air Force Base to ensure their comfort with the project,” the application said.
Fairfield Associate Planner Rick Hancock said the proposal must go to the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission before going to the Fairfield Planning Commission. It’s possible the Planning Commission could hear the proposal in April, he said.
Fairfield several years ago looked at building a turbine about 1.5 miles away at its North Bay Regional Water Treatment Plant. It decided against going forward because of concerns over the Travis Air Force Base flight path and having a turbine in an area planned for lots of housing, Fairfield Assistant Public Works Director of Utilities Felix Riesenberg said.
Instead, the water treatment plant is going solar. SolarWorld is to put up solar panels on five acres and sell the electricity at a fixed rate to the city over 20 years. Riesenberg said the energy cost will be similar to what the plant pays for electricity now, but that savings should come over the years as PG&E energy costs rise.
Fairfield had originally wanted to have the project completed by December 2012, but environmental issues caused delays. Meanwhile, various tax laws changed that pushed up the project price, a city report said.
Time proved to be money in this case. The city originally estimated it would save $1 million to $3 million over 20 years. With the tax law changes, it now estimates savings at $750,000 to $2.7 million.
Riesenberg said the one-megawatt facility could be under construction this spring.
Anheuser-Busch already gets electricity from a 340-foot-tall turbine and solar panels and natural gas from methane that comes from brewing wastewater. A proposed project on file with the city would take things further.
Sunwater Solar would install 260 solar thermal collectors at the brewery at 3101 Busch Drive, near Hale Ranch Road. Sunwater Solar is a Richmond firm that specializes in solar water heating systems.
This proposal will go to a Fairfield administrative hearing rather than a Planning Commission hearing, Hancock said. No date has yet been set.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.