The Anheuser-Busch Fairfield brewery announced that more than 6 acres of photovoltaic solar arrays, installed and operated by SunEdison, are now generating the equivalent of approximately 3% of the brewery’s electricity needs.
“Operating with care and concern for the environment has been a hallmark of Anheuser-Busch for more than century,” said Kevin Finger, general manager, Anheuser-Busch Fairfield brewery. “Our increased use of alternative energy sources is the latest example of how we strive to be the best beer company in a better world.”
Last year, the brewery entered into an agreement with SunEdison to host the solar power plant on brewery property. The brewery also constructed a Bio-Energy Recovery System, or BERS, which provides more than 15% of the brewery’s fuel needs by turning nutrients in brewing wastewater into renewable biogas used to decrease the use of natural gas.
These two projects are the latest in a series of conservation and efficiency improvements at the Fairfield brewery. Examples of recent efforts include a project to recover steam to heat water in the brewhouse, which reduced greenhouse gas emissions; installation of more efficient boiler burners and new energy-efficient air compressors; and replacing brewery lighting with energy-efficient fixtures on timers. Through resource conservation and alternative fuel usage, the brewery has decreased fuel use by 38%, water use by 32%, and electricity use by 14% since 2004.
“Anheuser-Busch has been a good neighbor to Fairfield and the surrounding communities for more than 30 years,” said State Senator Lois Wolk (D-5), who represents the region. “They have earned their reputation as not only a top employer in the area, but as a business doing the right thing for the environment, even before it was popular.”
The brewery also currently recycles more than 99 percent of the solid waste it generates, continuing a tradition dating back to the late 1800s when Anheuser-Busch first recycled brewers’ grain into cattle feed. Materials recycled at the Fairfield brewery include scrap aluminum and metal, glass, cardboard, wood, brewing grain, beechwood chips, stretch wrap and labels, electronic equipment and batteries. This amounted to nearly 200 million pounds of recycled materials in 2008 alone. For these efforts, the Fairfield brewery has been honored 15 times by the Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) from the California Integrated Waste Management Board.
“Anheuser-Busch has taken a strong leadership role in protecting natural resources and using energy wisely and efficiently. By hosting a PV solar energy system, Anheuser-Busch is part of America’s new energy future. SunEdison is proud to support them today and for decades to come,” said Kirk Roller, vice president of SunEdison.
The ground mount solar system, sizeable at nearly 1.2 MW, is located on Anheuser-Busch property near California Highway 80. As part of the solar power services agreement, SunEdison financed, installed, and is operating and monitoring the photovoltaic solar energy system. The system will also generate Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for businesses or individuals to purchase to offset their use of fossil fuel energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The brewery is also evaluating the installation of a wind turbine and additional photovoltaic solar arrays on-site to generate more renewable energy.
Renewable fuel at Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. breweries is anticipated to reach more than 15% by the end of 2009. This means more than five billion 12 ounce servings of beer – or about one in seven beers brewed by the company in the United States – are expected to be brewed using renewable fuel by the end of 2009*, thanks to efforts at Anheuser-Busch’s 12 U.S. breweries.
As a member of the U.S. EPA Climate Leaders Program, Anheuser-Busch has committed to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2010 for all of its U.S. operations. The company has also committed to increasing the total use of renewable fuel from 8 percent to 15 percent in the same time period company-wide.