FAIRFIELD – A new windmill proposed by the San Francisco-based Foundation Windpower to provide energy to the Anheuser-Busch brewery south of Interstate 80 goes before a pair of local commissions this week for public review.
Fairfield planning commissioners will conduct a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday. The Solano County Airport Land Use Commission will conduct a similar public hearing Thursday.
The system near Hale Ranch Road involves three rotating, 135-foot-long blades, the city staff said, with total height to the extended blade tip reaching 398 feet.
Planning commissioners approved a similar wind turbine in 2009. The second system they take up Wednesday would provide about 10 percent of the brewery’s yearly power requirements with a renewable energy source, the city said.
The turbine would be highly visible from several sites, including Cordelia Road and I-80, according to the city report. Wind energy conversion systems have been known to affect birds, the city noted, and about 700 similarly designed wind turbines at a wind farm 12 miles away result in the yearly deaths of about three bats and one songbird.
Measures to reduce mortality because of the brewery system include avoiding artificial lighting that attracts migratory songbirds at night when they cannot see the 263-foot tower that is part of the system.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends that an agency-approved biologist conduct burrowing owl surveys before construction. The owls occupy grassland and artificial structures, the state agency said in a letter.
The windmill project is self-contained, unstaffed and requires only limited maintenance, the city said. Sheldon Elementary School, located more than 1.7 miles away across Highway 12, is the closest school to the site.
Planning commissioners meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council chambers at 1000 Webster St. in Fairfield. Members of the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Solano County Government Center, Board of Supervisors chambers, 675 Texas St. in Fairfield.