Unplugged: The Path to Becoming an Energy Independent Facility
The Hayward Water Pollution Control Facility used to consume up to 60 percent of the city’s electricity. Today, it produces its own and exports enough energy to supply a significant share of the power for the water and sewer pumping stations, and for City Hall.
The facility is unplugged, according to Jeff Carson, operations and maintenance manager.
It fulfills 100 percent of its power needs through cogeneration using digester gas while generating a 38 percent surplus available for other city facilities. A 1 MW photovoltaic solar array generates even more electricity, which is exported to the local power grid.
The city, sixth largest in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, plans to add more cogeneration and solar capacity within the next two years, doubling the plant’s power output. “We currently supply power to 22 external accounts,” says Carson. “As we refine the process and increase our green power production, we will be able to export to more accounts.”
And Carson’s “unplugged” reference? “I remember old MTV videos of vocal groups that used no electric instrument. The music was called ‘unplugged,’ and I thought that was an appropriate description of our plant. The average person may not understand our processes but can picture us unplugged from the power grid.”