California Water Department Adds Renewable Power

The California Department of Water Resources has entered into a four-year renewable power purchase agreement with Alameda Municipal Power. The new contract will provide 33 MW of certified renewable energy, with 28.3 MW from an existing geothermal project and 5.3 MW from landfill gas energy.

Under the agreement, DWR will receive an estimated 183,000 MWh of annual generation. The renewable power procured under this agreement will help supply the State Water Project with a much cleaner resource than an expiring DWR contract for coal-fired generation, and will move the department closer to its goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The geothermal plants are owned and operated by the Northern California Power Agency and located at The Geysers geothermal field in Middletown, Calif. The landfill gas energy will come from a gas-to-energy plant owned and operated by a subsidiary of Ameresco, at Republic Services’ Ox Mountain Landfill in Half Moon Bay.

Landfill gas is created when organic waste decomposes, producing methane – the primary ingredient in natural gas, and a greenhouse gas. The landfill gas-to-energy plant captures the methane and turns it into electricity for use by residential and business customers.

DWR uses electrical energy to move water through the State Water Project, the largest state-run water and power system in the United States. The project provides water to an estimated 25 million Californians and 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland. By generating electricity at Oroville Dam and its other hydroelectric facilities, the State Water Project produces much of the energy it needs, but still must buy some electricity.

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