Nestlé Waters North America is making its first big renewable energy project a good one. The company installed two 1.6-megawatt wind turbines –industrial-size spinners – at its Cabazon, Calif., bottling plant. The cost -> $7.4 million construction with $2.15 million in permanent loans.
NWNA Cabazon’s location in the San Gorgonio Pass (aka, Banning Pass) is a wickedly windy place. Situated in a gap through the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains that connects the Inland Empire to the desert cities of the Coachella Valley, it’s home to one of the earliest and still biggest wind power developments in the country. Perfect place to make clean electricity from wind.
The two 1.6 megawatt GE wind turbines along the I-10 corridor will produce an average of 12,900,000 kilowatt hours annually, powering the equivalent of 1,100 U.S. homes. The project will also save 7,320 tons of CO2 emissions, offsetting the equivalent emissions from 20,687 oil barrels and saving the equivalent of 1,897 acres of trees.
NWNA partnered with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and Foundation Windpower to site and host and commission the wind turbines. Foundation Windpower installs, operates and owns the wind turbines, and its associated environmental attributes. NWNA purchases the power produced directly and receives renewable energy credits from Foundation Windpower, reducing the company’s power needs from the Southern California power grid.
“We’re pleased to partner with Nestle Waters North America to help advance renewable energy efforts in Cabazon,” said Matt Wilson , chief executive officer of Foundation Windpower. “Nestle Waters’ leadership in sustainability is an important example of how corporations can make a sizable difference in managing natural resources and creating job growth in the green sector.”
The installation of the wind turbines in Cabazon is part of NWNA’s long-term renewable energy plan. NWNA was the first beverage manufacturer in the country to build U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) certified plants. In 2004, the Cabazon plant earned a LEED Silver Rating. Today, the company has 10 LEED-certified facilities, covering 3.7 million square feet and diverting 22,000 tons of waste material from landfills.
“Hosting wind turbines at our bottling plants is a critical step for Nestlé Waters to support the increased use of renewable energy,” Michael Washburn, vice president of sustainability for the company. “This latest effort in conjunction with our partnership with Foundation Windpower is consistent with our practices to reduce our environmental footprint.”
Nestlé figures the two GE turbines will meet about 30% of the plant’s power needs, churning out around 12,900 megawatt-hours of power per year.
The developer, Foundation Windpower, is the go-to company in California for commercial enterprises looking to power up with big wind, with 11 projects done and more in the works. Incentives at both the state and federal level allow the company to offer attractive power purchase agreements to clients. There’s the California State Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), pays $1.25 per watt of installed capacity, half up front and the rest over the first five years of operation, assuming a 25% capacity factor is achieved (no problem there). Then there’s the federal production tax credit that pays 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of wind energy produced.
While this is Nestlé’s first wind energy project anywhere in the world, the company does flash other green credentials: The Cabazon plant got a LEED Silver rating in 2004, one of 10 LEED-level facilities for the company. The company also boasts that it “produces 98 percent of its single-serve PET plastic bottles on-site at company bottling facilities, saving 6.6 million gallons of fuel per year through reduced transportation requirements.”