Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

KRCD looks at small hydro project on Kings River

The Kings River Conservation District wants to study a project to install a small hydroelectric unit on the Kings River near Sanger — creating electricity by using the river’s flow at Gould Weir.

It’s part of California’s push to have 33% of its energy portfolio in renewable technologies, such as solar, wind and hydro, by 2020.

Though such small hydro is an established technology, this project wouldn’t happen anytime soon. The district has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a permit to study it. The study would probably take three years.

The main question: Could this project produce enough electricity to make it work financially for the district?

“The river doesn’t run all year round,” said district general manager Dave Orth.

He said the district is the leading resource agency in the region, making it the logical choice to study the project’s feasibility and development in an environmentally appropriate manner.

Sunshine will help power Hanford’s sewage plant

Chevron Energy Solutions designed and installed a new solar-power system at Hanford’s wastewater treatment plant.

Hanford is dedicating a new solar power system on Tuesday that is expected to save the city millions of dollars in electricity costs at its wastewater treatment plant in the coming years.

Chevron Energy Solutions designed and installed the 1-megawatt system, which has solar panels mounted at ground level. Chevron will also operate and maintain the photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity.

A megawatt, by the way, is one million watts. A 1-megawatt plant can produce enough power to meet the electricity needs of about 300 homes.

The city expects that solar power will reduce its electricity purchases by about 50% at the treatment plant — about $7 million over the life of the system.

Mayor Sue Sorensen said in a written statement that Hanford’s future “is brighter because of this project and the vision of sustainability that it helps fulfill.”

In September, Chevron Energy Solutions and Kings County announced the completion of a three-stage, eight-year program of energy efficiency improvements and solar-power construction at county buildings in Hanford, Armona, Corcoran, Kettleman City, Lemoore, Stratford and two county parks. The solar component of the program included putting solar panels on parking shade structures at the Kings County Government Center in Hanford and the county library in downtown Hanford.