The city of San Diego's Point Loma wastewater treatment plant and Pump Energy Recovery Project (PERP) has been brought online in time for the peak summer season and will begin selling power to the San Diego grid through a contract with San Diego Gas and Electric.
The $1.2 million project, completed by Henwood Energy Services, Inc. , included a $360,000 grant from the California Energy Commission in addition to $420,000 renewable energy incentives from the state of California to get the wastewater treatment facility back up and running in time for Summer 2001, and will supply an additional 1.35 megawatts of green energy to San Diego area power grid.
The Point Loma hydroelectric turbine originally was installed in the mid-1980s, but operated for less than 24 hours before being shut down in 1989 and partially disassembled due to the inability to properly regulate the effluent flow. However, changes to the plant's piping system in concordance with the ocean outfall's hydraulic characteristics and rising energy costs created the interest in bringing the project back on-line.
Henwood, a leading energy technology and consulting company, was chosen for the major maintenance overhaul including the installation of a new control system and wiring it into the GUF (gas utilization facility) which can in turn produce over 4.5 MW of power. Henwood met the deadline of June 1, 2001 after bringing the generator online with successful testing starting May 23.
The facility is powered with treated wastewater that drops up to 90 feet from the cliffside plant into a 4.5 mile ocean outfall, resulting in the generation of enough incremental power to supply electricity to more than 10,000 homes. Mayor Dick Murphy will be dedicating the plant on Monday, June 18th with a ribbon cutting ceremony held on site.
The Metropolitan Wastewater Department treats the wastewater generated by more than two million people in the City of San Diego and fifteen other cities and districts. Through state-of-the-art facilities, water reclamation, biosolids production and cogeneration, the city is a leader in maximizing the conservation of water and energy as part of the wastewater treatment process.