Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the municipal electric utility in Santa Clara, Calif., will become a coal-free utility on Dec. 31, 2017, when it ends electricity imports from a New Mexico coal-fired power plant.
SVP says it will replace the power from the San Juan Generating Station with cleaner energy from renewable and natural gas resources for its 53,000 Santa Clara customers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently issued its final approval of the move.
“We will be coal-free two years earlier than the 2020 deadline called for in the City of Santa Clara’s Climate Action Plan,” notes SVP’s Larry Owens.
The utility says it currently distributes about 36% of its power from state-mandated renewable resources, far exceeding California renewable energy requirements. Overall, more than 50% of the power supplied by SVP is carbon-free.
SVP explains that it and two other Northern California municipal utilities formed the M-S-R Public Power Agency in 1980 and purchased the interest in the San Juan Generating Station in 1983. While the San Juan power provided just 10% of SVP’s electricity, the coal-fired power accounted for 50% of the utility’s carbon emissions.
“Silicon Valley Power has been committed to eliminating coal as a source of electricity for our customers and turned toward a combination of new renewable resources and the ultramodern Lodi Energy Center [natural gas generation plant] to replace the 51 MW of power from San Juan,” says Owens.
SVP adds it expects to remain well ahead of state or federally mandated renewable energy requirements for the foreseeable future.