The Agency has made significant strides in reducing its dependence on the electrical power grid by investing in renewable energy programs. In an effort to diversify and maximize renewable energy generation, the Agency installed 3.5 megawatts (MW) of solar power in 2008, a 1 MW wind turbine in 2011 and a 2.8 MW biogas fuel cell in 2012. Combined, these projects have provided more than 50% of peak energy demand Agency-wide. The Agency seeks to achieve peak power independence by 2020 by improving operational efficiencies and implementing new renewable projects and energy management agreements.
IEUA entered into a partnership with Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) to install, operate and maintain 3.65 MW of battery storage at six IEUA facilities (four treatment plants and two pump stations).
The batteries, supplied by Tesla, will reduce IEUA’s demand for power during peak periods, saving the Agency approximately $220,000 annually in electricity costs. The project will charge the batteries at night when power costs are at their lowest and use the batteries during the day when grid demand is highest and costs are exponentially higher.
These battery storage systems will integrate IEUA’s renewable installations and give IEUA a greater ability to cost-effectively meet the Agency’s demand and optimize the delivery of self-generated electricity. Furthermore, the batteries can potentially act as a resource for the utility to shed grid load during periods of high demand.
In 2010, the Agency signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to install, operate and maintain a 2.8 MW fuel cell system at the RP-1. Under the agreement, the PPA provider is responsible for funding, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the system. IEUA purchases power generated from the fuel cell plant at the agreed upon price, and uses the heat generated from the process to heat the anaerobic digesters.
In 2008, IEUA installed 3.5 MW of solar power at its water recycling facilities and the Inland Empire Regional Composting Facility. The 3.5 MW of solar energy, enough to power approximately 600 homes for one year. To view real-time energy generated by IEUA’s solar installation, click here (net capacity 3.5 MW; gross capacity 3.6 MW).
A 1 MW wind turbine is installed at the northern Regional Water Recycling Plant No. 4. The wind turbine stands 180 feet high and has three blades that span 100 feet in length and provides a portion of the electricity needed at the plant.