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New Belgium Using Smart Grid to Time Energy Production

new belgiumBy being tied into the smart grid in Fort Collins, Colo., New Belgium Brewing Co. will know when it makes sense to produce its own power, reports the Coloradoan.

The city’s distributed energy generation program is designed to let companies and organizations that have their own generating capacity to add power back to the grid during times of peak loads. The program is part of the Fort Collins Zero Energy District, or FortZED.

In New Belgium’s case, that means a new 200-kilowatt engine that runs on diesel and/or natural gas will kick on when the city signals that power demand is peaking, said Jenn Orgolini (pictured above), Sustainability Director at New Belgium.

New Belgium also has added an 870-panel, 200-kilowatt solar array at its facility, which is tied into the distributed energy program too. The array will produce 16 percent of New Belgium’s peak electrical load and 3 percent of its total electrical energy use, according to a press release.

The solar array cost $1 million, but New Belgium was reimbursed about 40 percent of the cost through a Department of Energy grant.

If the project works, Fort Collins will have demonstrated how various corporate partners can assist in minimizing the demand on the utility during peak demand periods, said Jeff Harrell, of Spirae, another company participating in the FortZED project.

Fort Collins received a federal $18.1 billion Smart Grid Investment Grant that is associated with the project.

Other companies involved in the FortZED project include Eaton, Woodward and the Brendle Group. For a full list of partners, click here.

New Belgium has long embraced other emissions-cutting causes, as well.

The brewery plans to cut CO2 emissions by 25 percent per barrel by 2015.

The company purchased carbon offsets for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last year.

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