DWR Adds Renewable Energy to Portfolio for State Water Project

The California Department of Water Resources has entered into a renewable power purchase agreement with Alameda Municipal Power to help power the State Water Project through 2016.

The agreement, part of DWR’s effort to “green” the energy portfolio for the SWP, will help meet energy needs with a much cleaner resource than coal-fired generation received under an expiring DWR contract, according to a DWR news release. The new contract will provide 33 megawatts (MW) of certified renewable energy with 28.3 MW from an existing geothermal project and 5.3 MW from landfill gas energy. Under this agreement, DWR will receive an estimated 183,000 megawatt-hours of annual generation.

The geothermal plants are owned and operated by the Northern California Power Agency and located at The Geysers geothermal field in Middletown, California. 

The landfill gas energy under the new contract will come from the Republic Services’ Ox Mountain Landfill gas-to-energy plant 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. The process prevents the release of greenhouse gases and reduces the need for power generated by burning fossil fuels.

The new energy contract will move DWR closer to its goal of reducing emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2020.

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.

To learn more about DWR's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, access DWR's Climate Action Plan here.