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Wastewater generates hydro

The City of San Diego in California, US, is generating power from wastewater at its Point Loma wastewater treatment plant. The pump energy recovery project (PERP) has been brought on line 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 (SDG&E).

The US$1.2M project, completed by Henwood Energy Services, will supply an additional 1.35MW of green energy to the San Diego area power grid.

The Point Loma hydroelectric turbine was originally installed in the mid-1980s but operated for less than 24 hours before being shut down in 1989 and partially disassembled due to it’s inability to properly regulate effluent flow. A major maintenance overhaul, including the installation of a new control system and wiring, has enabled it to be brought on line by 1 June 2001.

The facility is powered with treated wastewater that drops up to 27.4m from the cliffside wastewater plant into a 7.2km ocean outfall, resulting in the generation of enough incremental power to supply electricity to more than 10,000 homes.