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September 2006


First megawatt-class hydrogen fuel cell plant in California

The completion of California’s first megawatt-class hydrogen fuel cell cogeneration plant was announced by Almeda County officials.

The project, engineered and installed at Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail by Chevron Energy Solutions, will provide half of the facility’s annual power needs, save county taxpayers more than $260,000 a year, and benefit the environment.

The one-megawatt (MW) plant, manufactured by FuelCell Energy, Inc. is Alameda County’s latest accomplishment in its Climate Change Leadership Strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The power from the new unit, along with the jail’s previously-installed 1.2-MW solar power array and energy efficiency upgrades, will shrink Santa Rita’s power purchases by as much as 80 percent during the peak-demand summer months, when California’s electric utility system can face capacity constraints.

“With the installation of this plant, Santa Rita Jail is now the ‘greenest’ county facility in the country,” said Keith Carson, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

The $6.1 million total project cost was supported by $2.4 million in grants and incentives: $1.4 million from Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s self-generation incentive program, and $1 million from the United States Department of Defense Climate Change Fuel Cell Program. The remaining cost of $3.7 million — $2.8 million of which was financed through a California Energy Commission Energy Partnership Program Loan — is being funded entirely by the project’s energy cost savings under a performance contract with Chevron Energy Solutions and FuelCell Energy.

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