EBMUD pilot program generates clean energy from water pressure in its water pipelines
In-conduit hydroelectricity generation takes EBMUD a step closer to its goal of being carbon neutral by 2030
OAKLAND – The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has partnered with InPipe Energy, a California-based clean energy company, to generate electricity from the flow of water in its water system. This investment in innovation supports EBMUD’s energy policy goal to become carbon neutral by 2030. This is the first installation of the InPipe technology in California.
The new in-conduit hydroelectric system works like traditional pressure regulating valves in EBMUD’s water distribution system but uses a turbine to reduce water pressure in the distribution pipeline while generating electricity, creating a reliable, clean source of power.
Installed in parallel with EBMUD’s Piedmont Regulator, InPipe’s in-conduit hydroelectric system will replicate the function of the existing regulator while generating approximately 130,000 kWh of emission-free energy per year for use onsite. This system is expected to offset nearly 6 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
“EBMUD is always looking for innovative opportunities to meet our goal to become a carbon-neutral enterprise and contribute to fighting climate change,” said EBMUD Board Member Marguerite Young. “This project generates clean energy while accomplishing our mission of providing clean, safe water to our customers. I’m looking forward to seeing more projects like this in our service area and around the country.”
Since 2000, EBMUD has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by roughly half by generating and using solar energy, biogas and hydroelectricity, as well as by purchasing lower-emission energy, installing energy-efficient equipment and machinery, and purchasing zero- or low-emission vehicles. In-conduit hydroelectricity generation presents another opportunity to reduce EBMUD’s carbon footprint.
EBMUD, California’s second-largest water and wastewater retail utility with 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, will evaluate the performance and economics of the pilot to determine if this site or other locations can offer a cost-effective source of zero-emission energy.
“We will continue to implement cutting-edge solutions to meet our energy and sustainability goals, which is good for our community and the planet,” said EBMUD General Manager Clifford Chan.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District has a proud history of providing high-quality drinking water for 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. EBMUD’s wastewater system serves 740,000 customers and helps protect the ecosystem of San Francisco Bay. EBMUD is a not-for-profit public agency established in 1923.