OCEANSIDE — Alternative energy sources are adding up to big savings for the city.
Oceanside now has three public private partnerships to purchase power from facilities that provide energy at lower rates than SDG&E.
The newest alternative energy source is the cogeneration facility that will be built at Oceanside’s small La Salina Wastewater Treatment Plant beginning this summer. The cogeneration facility captures expelled methane gas from wastewater treatment operations and converts it into usable energy. The city then buys the energy from the facility operator at a lower cost than SDG&E charges. This power purchase agreement is estimated to save the city about $41,000 annually.
CHPCE La Salina LLC, a subsidiary of CHP Clean Energy, is working in public private partnership with the city to build and operate the cogenerator. This allows the city to access lower priced energy without investing a dollar in the facility.
“We’re pretty excited to bring this type of project to the city,” Jason Dafforn, water utilities division manager, said. “The public private partnership is almost zero cost to the city. It gives the city the opportunity to simply buy power at a discounted rate from SDG&E power.”
Cogenerators are specific to wastewater treatment plant operations.
Another cogenerator facility was built by CHP Clean Energy at the San Luis Rey Wastewater Treatment Plant in December 2007. The larger facility has saved the city a whopping $335,000 a year in energy bills. Due to the proven benefits it provides the second cogenerator at La Salina Wastewater Treatment Plant was OK’d by City Council May 1.
The San Luis Rey Wastewater Treatment Plant property also houses a Solar Photo-Voltaic System that produces electricity, which is bought by the city. Solar Star Oceanside LLC, a subsidiary of SunPower, installed and operates the solar field and works in a public private partnership with the city that began in June 2012. The solar system saves the city $82,569 a year.
Dafforn said the city is considering adding additional solar systems to city properties when technology improves and the footprint of solar systems becomes smaller.
“We continue to work with local companies to provide that type of technology to the level we see a benefit to it,” Dafforn said.