ENGIE, California County partner on Hybrid Microgrid to serve Wastewater plant

May 1, 2023
Cogeneration plant will also include battery storage, solar energy and diesel generators.Overall, ENGIE says, energy improvement work will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 93 percent and save more than $83 million over the lifetime of the project

ENGIE North America will install battery storage to backup on-site cogeneration capacity at a county wastewater treatment facility in California.

The board of directors for West County Wastewater has approved the phase two plan of its energy improvement project at the Water Quality and Resource Recovery facility near Richmond, Calif. The combined heat and power cogeneration plant will also include solar energy and diesel generators.

Overall, ENGIE North America says, the energy improvement work will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 93 percent and save more than $83 million over the lifetime of the project compared to the previous power generation.

“The WCW infrastructure improvements expand resilience in the face of wildfire and weather events that necessitate utility-imposed, Public Safety Power Shutoffs,” said Andrew Clough, General Manager from West County Wastewater. “This is a long-term collaboration to meet our sustainability goals and support the surrounding community."

The West County Wastewater project will include the addition of 1.1 MW of solar power generation, two new digesters, LED lighting and EV charging stations. The upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant will include a new grit separation system, a high efficiency aeration blower, a 450-kW cogeneration system that will be powered by biogas from the digesters, rotary drum thickeners, a sludge dewatering system and thermal dryer system and equalization basins. 

"Since 2022 we have worked closely with ENGIE to engage local community members including college students for an internship and community engagement programs," Clough added. "This initiative is designed to complement the energy project goals and continue to bring job opportunities and economic benefits to the city of Richmond.”

Construction has begun on the first phase of the WCW energy improvement project. West County Wastewater serves several communities in the Richmond region, owning and operating 249 miles of gravity sewer pipelines, 17 lift stations, six miles of pressure force mains and the plant which can handle about 12.5 million gallons per day, according to reports.

Situated in the East Bay region near San Francisco Bay, Richmond has more than 116,000 in population and borders San Pablo, Albany and El Cerrito.

West County Wastewater serves approximately 34,000 residences and 900 commercial and industrial businesses.