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
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.