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Energy Department Works with Sacramento Municipal Utility District on Renewable Electricity Generation and Delivery

July 28, 2014 - 9:59am

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Dairy digester and engine genset at New Hope dairy farm. | Photo courtesy of Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Dairy digester and engine genset at New Hope dairy farm. | Photo courtesy of Sacramento Municipal Utility District

The Energy Department partnered with Coenergy and SMUD to fund the renewable energy projects. | Photo courtesy of Sacramento Municipal Utility District

The Energy Department partnered with Coenergy and SMUD to fund the renewable energy projects. | Photo courtesy of Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Dairy digester and engine genset at New Hope dairy farm. | Photo courtesy of Sacramento Municipal Utility District
The Energy Department partnered with Coenergy and SMUD to fund the renewable energy projects. | Photo courtesy of Sacramento Municipal Utility District
EERE Investment More than $5 million
Location Sacramento, California
Partners Sacramento Municipal Utility District
California Energy Commission

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in Sacramento, California, is looking to local renewable resources to help meet its aggressive goal of supplying 37% of its power from renewables by 2020. To help achieve this goal, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provided more than $5 million in funding for several SMUD Community Renewable Energy Deployment (CommRE) projects. This funding, combined with $500,000 from the California Energy Commission (CEC), is helping to build a solar power system, biogas generation from waste, and anaerobic digestion systems at dairy facilities, all for electricity generation and delivery to SMUD’s distribution system.

Simply Solar

SMUD is teaming up with Conergy to develop an approximately 1.5 megawatt community-scale solar project called Simply Solar. Conergy has been Image of solar panels.awarded approximately $1.6 million in grant funding from DOE, with an additional $125,000 available in matching funds from the California Energy Commission. Conergy will design, construct, finance, own, and operate a new photovoltaic or concentrating photovoltaic system located within SMUD's service territory. This project is expected to be completed in September 2014.

Regional County Sanitation District Wastewater Treatment Facility

A new process at the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (SRCSD) wastewater treatment facility co-digests fats, oils, and grease (FOG), and food processing waste (FPW), such as off-specification soda pop, with sewage to generate biogas. During 2009, SRCSD and SMUD conducted a biogas enhancement pilot test to evaluate the feasibility of using FOG and FPW, which confirmed that FOG and other FPW used in the anaerobic digesters improved the overall biogas production and would provide more electricity from the green energy source. Construction was completed in 2012, and the facility is currently operational. This project is projected to provide enough renewable energy to power between 1,000 and 3,000 homes, as well as eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and saving local businesses money.

Dairy Anaerobic Digestion Systems

AnaImage of a dairy digester.erobic digestion systems have been installed at the New Hope and Van Warmerdam dairy facilities as part of this SMUD CommRE project. The systems generate enough electricity to power roughly 500 single-family homes in Sacramento. Construction started on both projects in December 2012, and they both began commercial operations in mid-2013.

Digester benefits:

  • Generates renewable electricity that is sold to SMUD, displacing the use of fossil fuels;
  • Contributes to SMUD’s and the State’s RPS programs;
  • Captures and destroys methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide in causing climate change;
  • Stabilizes manure wastes, reducing odor and flies; creates a steady revenue stream for the dairy farmers through lease agreements with the project developer;
  • Provides the farmer with facilities and equipment that improve dairy operations;
  • Brings local economic benefits though the creation of jobs and increased tax revenue for the community.
Environmental and Economic Benefits

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the projects also demonstrate that solar projects and anaerobic digesters can be readily implemented through collaborative partnerships. Other communities are able to learn how to assess, overcome barriers, utilize, and benefit from renewable resources for electricity generation in their region.

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