The award-winning submission for the City of San Leandro highlighted energy infrastructure upgrades to the Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP), which included a one-megawatt photovoltaic solar array, new HVAC controls and LED lighting modernizations. San Leandro’s City Council also recently approved a battery storage addition that turns the solar array and plant into a micro-grid, protecting the WPCP’s critical services against power outages.
The upgrades reduce the plant’s electrical energy consumption by at least 45 percent or $247,500 annually. In the future, the City can use these funds for more improvement projects at the WPCP or to reduce potential rate increases for WPCP ratepayers.
“The City of San Leandro is committed to our pursuit of energy efficiency and resiliency and adding solar power to the WPCP–at one time the City’s largest electricity user–is a huge step forward on the effort,” said San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of all who worked on this program and for everyone who supports the City’s bold, green goals.”
The City keeps a pulse on alternative funding sources for its energy efficiency ventures. In 2017, the California Energy Commission (CEC) awarded San Leandro one of its four largest grants of nearly $2 million for the solar arrays. Because the WPCP’s enterprise fund matched the grant, the City covered the costs of the project without dipping into its general fund for a single dollar. The City followed suit when seeking the battery storage component, winning a $420,857 grant through Pacific Gas and Electric’s Self Generation Incentive Program.
In addition to reducing the plant’s energy consumption, the upgrades are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 2.8 million pounds annually. This trajectory helped the City meet its Climate Action Plan goal of reducing 2005 emission levels by 25 percent before 2020.
“San Leandro’s Water Pollution Control Plant upgrades demonstrate how increasing energy efficiency can result in better outcomes for the community, the environment and the local government,” said Tyler Girtman of Climatec, San Leandro’s partner on energy efficiency endeavors since 2014. “I want to congratulate Mayor Cutter on the Climate Protection Award and to share my appreciation for San Leandro’s leadership and staff in addressing climate and energy issues. The City is forging the path of municipal resiliency as we know it.”
The City of San Leandro was one of five cities recognized with an honorable mention in the Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards category for cities with a population of less than 100,000. For additional information on the awardees, read full descriptions of the programs that received 2020 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards.
For additional information on the award program, visit the U.S. Conference of Mayors website.