Utah Brewery Chooses 100% Wind Power

Utah Brewery Chooses 100% Wind Power

A small Utah company brews award-winning beers such as Cutthroat Pale Ale and Kings Peak Porter, and now it's doing it with power generated by the strong winds of Wyoming.

Uinta Brewing Company of Salt Lake City announced the opening of its new brewery and the Uinta Brewhouse Pub — the first in Utah to be run on 100% pollution-free wind power from Utah Power's Blue Sky Program.

Uinta president and owner Will Hamill said the company has been using wind power since Dec. 1 of last year. "It just became available in Utah recently, and I decided it would be good for the company," he said.

Hamill cited a Gallup poll conducted in November 2001 that showed 91% of Americans favor investments in clean energy sources such as wind, solar, and fuel cells. "Customers will likely be drawn to a product that is brewed by 100% wind power," he said.

Uinta Brewing Company, named after Utah's highest mountain range, was established in 1993. A small company with 10 employees, it is founded on Hamill's passion for quality beers and his innovative recipes using no additives and only four ingredients: hops, barley, water, and yeast.

Producing his beer in an environmentally friendly way is important to Hamill. "Uinta Brewing Company is committed to the environment and our local community. We donate to community organizations and recycle everything we can," said Hamill. "Running our new brewery and pub on 100% wind-generated electricity is the next logical step."

Bill Landels, Utah Power executive vice president said, "Utah Power launched the Blue Sky Wind Power program in 2000 to give our customers a choice in how their energy is produced and to allow them to participate in creating a demand for renewable energy resources. We congratulate Uinta Brewing Company on its commitment to the environment through participating in Blue Sky."

The Blue Sky program offers customers the opportunity to buy renewable energy in 100-kilowatt-block increments for an additional $2.95 per block per month on their electricity bills.

The wind power is generated by a new wind farm in Foot Creek Rim, Wyo. Utah Power's parent company, PacifiCorp, has a 20-year agreement to purchase the entire output of the project from the wind energy operation. The new facility will produce enough clean energy for more than 13,000 average homes.

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson commended Uinta, saying, "Salt Lake City Corporation is behind green power purchases and is thrilled with Uinta Brewing Company's commitment to run entirely on wind-generated electricity. Its purchase is in alignment with our Salt Lake City Green program."

The Salt Lake City Green program, launched last August in the run-up to the city's role as host of the Winter Olympic Games next month, aims to emphasize the connectedness of environment and economy. Mayor Anderson said, "We cannot separate economic and quality of life considerations from environmental ones. Rather, we need a comprehensive and practical approach to preserving our environment that looks at all sides of any given problem and finds integrated solutions."

The brewery has won high marks from environmentalists for choosing wind power. "Uinta Brewing Company is a model for the brewing world. It is leading the way toward a clean, sustainable energy supply for Utahns," said Sarah Wright, coordinator of the Utah Wind Power Campaign for the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, a nonprofit environmental policy and law organization working to increase public awareness and use of wind power.

"When compared to traditional fossil-fuel-generated electricity, its purchase prevents the release of 357,120 pounds per year of carbon dioxide, one of the chief gases responsible for global warming," said Wright. "It is equivalent to not driving an automobile 348,400 miles per year or planting 71 acres of trees each year."

Inspired by Utah's landscape in naming its beers, the company extends this inspiration to include a mindful respect of the environment in its business practices. In addition to Uinta's wind power purchase, the brewery strives to conserve energy and resources through its energy-efficient design.

"The decision to run our new brewery using 100% wind power fits with our environmental convictions and our long-term strategy," said Hamill. "Although wind power costs a little bit more, we feel that the environmental benefits outweigh the costs."

Hamill said he wants his brewery to be a showcase for the practicality of wind power. He said, "We hope to encourage other local business to do the same by demonstrating that running a successful business and protecting the environment go hand-in-hand."

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