The Yucaipa Valley Water District (YVWD) board of directors approved a contract with ENGIE North America for a customized solar, storage and microgram project. The approved contract was announced in a publication by CISION PR Newswire Nov. 2. With widespread upgrades, this will ensure standalone power during outages as part of a larger, clean energy upgrade and also improves water energy. YVWD will prioritize the adoption of clean-powered energy to improve its water energy nexus at two of its most critical locations, the Yucaipa Valley Regional Water Filtration Facility and the Wochholz Regional Water Recycling Facility. The combined project includes 7.4 MW of solar (MW is a unit of electrical power equal to 1 million watts), a 3.3 MW/13 MWh (megawatt hour is equal to 1,000 Kilowatt hours) on energy storage system and 3.2 MW of natural gas genesis and microgram controllers. YVWD’s program is expected to save $73 million over the life of the program and the district will receive nearly $7 million in incentives under California’s Self Generation Incentive Program. ENGIE North America will build, own and operate the systems, as well as sell energy and energy services through a 28-year power purchase agreement with a fixed price. General Manager Joe Zoba said, “With so many challenging events facing our community including fire and drought, our district is at the forefront of proactive problem-solving.” Zoba continued, “It is time for a more integrated approach to address the challenges and opportunities of the water-energy nexus. Maintaining the reliability and resilience of our energy and water systems is the key to long-term sustainability and our overall success. The YVWD depends on uninterrupted power 24/7 to conduct mission critical operations. This project not only allows critical facilities to remain in operation if there is a grid outage, but also reduces our carbon footprint.” YVWD provides a combination of water, sewer and recycled water connections to over 223,000 ratepayers in Riverside
County and San Bernardino County including the cities of Yucaipa and Calimesa. YVWD’s core mission is to provide reliable water and wastewater service to a 40 square-mile region with 223 miles of drinking water pipelines and 27 reservoirs with 34 million gallons of storage capacity. The program will greatly improve the district’s capacity to serve residents and keep rates stable while hedging against rising energy costs. The program is designed to meet the district’s long-term resiliency goals and ensure safe, reliable power to the district’s key facilities during public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events. The Yucaipa Valley is historically known as a fire-prone region and the community has seen an increase in risks, managing fires nearly every two years. Seeking a proactive way to prepare for fire season and reduce the impact of related PSPS, the YVWD board of directors selected ENGIE as its energy partner to set a usable framework for technology solutions that would address broader community needs. Managing Director Stefaan Sercu said ENGIE was proud to partner with the Yucaipa Valley Water District team as they realize long-term, positive impact through enhancement of routine operation and emergency capabilities of its vital water and wastewater assets.