This page is about how Sacramento’s electric utility is upgrading its infrastructure and technology, under pressure of the atmosphere heating up and ruining everything.
1.0 Sacramento’s Carbon-Fire Power Plant
1.1 Sacramento is electrified by a fire-breathing climate monster.
2.0 Sacramento’s Solar & Wind Energy
2.1 Sacramento’s Rancho Seco Solar Farm replaces costly nuke plant.
2.2 Sacramento’s Solano Wind Farm is getting a makeover.
1. Sacramento’s Carbon-Fire Power Plant
Sacramento’s biggest power plant burns methane gas, so it spews monstrous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, and damaging the climate.
1.1 Most of the electricity SMUD sells you comes from a fire-breathing climate monster.
To be fair, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) does source 10% of its electricity from solar arrays, and SMUD will be buying electricity from a newly-built solar farm in 2020.
The GOOD: Climate solutions-wise, SMUD has been a leader among U.S. electric utilities in making solar electricity available to its customers. SMUD has a long list of clean energy initiatives that go back to the 1980s.
The COOL: SMUD has a 13-megawatt solar farm set aside just for the City’s municipal operations. Solar Electric powers 35% of City properties like City Hall, City parking garages, police stations, firehouses, community centers, and the water treatment plant.
The BAD: “SMUD” makes most of Sacramento’s electricity, enough to power 450,000 single-family homes, from one great big 500,000,000 watt (500 megawatts) carbon-fired generating plant. SMUD’s Cosumnes Power Plant has been committing as much as 9,000 tons of climate-warming gas into the atmosphere every day, and it’s been doing this since it’s construction in 2006.
The UGLY: The Cosumnes Power Plant is scheduled to keep spewing carbon into the atmosphere until at least 2036. This is later than 2030, when scientists say that carbon emissions must already have been substantially reduced, so that the climate won’t become unlivable in the 2070s.
Electric Utility site: smud.org/en/Corporate/Environmental-Leadership/Power-Sources
City site: CityofSacramento.org/Public-Works/Electric-Vehicle-Initiative
2. Sacramento’s Solar & Wind Energy
Sacramento has been getting a small portion of its electricity from carbon-free sources – solar and wind farms – and it’ll soon be getting more.
2.1 Sacramento’s Rancho Seco Solar Farm is being built on the site of a shut-down nuclear power plant. :-)
With construction almost complete, Rancho Seco’s first energy is expected on the grid toward the end of 2020. The solar project sits on the site of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generation Station. The Rancho Seco solar farm will generate 100,000,000 watts of electricity (100 million watts), enough to energize 120,000 average-size homes.
The Rancho Seco project does not currently include energy storage, but Amanda Beck, SMUD senior project manager, says SMUD is actively looking at utility-scale battery storage. “We are looking at doing more solar projects,” Beck said, noting that the utility’s plan calls for 1,000,000,000 (1 billion watts of solar power – twice the output of SMUD’s carbon-spewing gas-guzzler) by 2040.
Industry Association site: American Public Power Association. SMUD signs 30-year PPA for 160-MW solar project by Peter Maloney, June 3, 2019. publicpower.org/periodical/article/smud-signs-30-year-ppa-160-mw-sol
Local Business News: Sacramento Business Journal. SMUD set to develop its largest solar array with Lendlease by Mark Anderson, June 30, 2019 BizJournals.com/sacramento/news/2019/05/30/smud-set-to-develop-its-largest-solar-array-with.html
Photo: Screencap of local TV news. From nuclear to solar power by Adam Christy, Sep 9, 2016. abc10.com/article/news/local/from-nuclear-to-solar-power/327657069
2.2 Sacramento’s Solano Wind Farm is getting a towering makeover.
SMUD is upgrading and adding to its Solano wind farm, with 22 new, modern turbines, for a total of 320,000,000 watts (320 million watts) of carbon-free electricity. Construction is expected to begin late in 2020 and be completed in early 2022.
Electric Utility site: Sacramento Municipal Utility District Solano 4 Wind Project Smud.org/en/Corporate/Environmental-Leadership/Power-Sources/Solano-4-Wind