Watch CBS News

Hydropower Turbine Proposal Would Cut Power Costs For Three NorCal Cities

MANTECA (CBS13) - Three cities in Northern California may see a change in their energy bill if a proposal to buy power from a renewable energy company is approved.

"The prices have moved up here over the years," said Grace Henderson.

Henderson has lived in Manteca for 25 years and says the place has only gotten pricier.

"Inflation is an issue right now, so all the prices are higher when you go to the gas station and the grocery store so that's a major issue," she said.

Though, one local agency is looking to relieve the financial frustration.

"We are looking at additional savings," said Peter Rietkerk, the general manager of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District's water treatment plant.

The plant provides drinking and irrigation water to Manteca, Lathrop and Tracy.

"Currently, we receive power from two sources," Rietkerk said.

The plant runs on renewable solar energy and power from Pacific Gas and Electric, but the district is looking to replace PG&E with another renewable source: hydropower turbines.

Here's how they'd work.

"The proposal is to put these turbines into the main canal. Basically, they would sit in a concrete flume that would direct flow through the turbines," Rietkerk said.

The turbines sit vertically and spin a small generator that would produce power.

"Anything to lower my bill," Henderson said.

The district's proposal anticipates that will happen — but by how much?

If approved, the district would buy power from the energy company EMERGY, which would install the turbines at their cost and enter into a 20-year power purchasing agreement with the irrigation district at a rate 30% lower then buying power directly from PG&E.

"Any cost savings to process and develop clean drinking water would result in savings for all partner cities and their residential customers," Rietkerk said.

The district says it's another step toward the water treatment plant running entirely on renewable energy.

It's unclear exactly how the cost would trickle down to the customer, though the district says if the turbine proposal is approved, customers would certainly see a difference in their energy bill.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.