Engineering clean energy sources for County buildings, we’re invested in our community’s sustainable future.
Clear Vision for a Clean Future
Our future on the planet demands finding clean alternatives for our energy needs.
Alameda County is committed to carbon-neutral solutions for County buildings. Our Energy Services Division engineers cutting-edge power sources and energy-saving innovations for County buildings.
When we go carbon-neutral, the whole County stays green.
We achieve our goals through two key approaches:
- Continuous monitoring of building operations and maintenance of County facilities
- Identifying, designing and implementing construction projects and programs
Our projects are cornerstones of the County’s energy and water resource management, and include fuel-cell, wind-to-electric and solar-thermal energy initiatives.
Solar Energy & Renewable Fuels
Generating our own renewable energy helps us reduce greenhouse gas emissions while saving taxpayer dollars.
Since 2001, the Energy Services Division has spearheaded dozens of clean energy projects in Alameda County. Major initiatives include:
- Financing installations of solar panels at two community housing projects
- 12 large-scale solar installations in our own buildings
- 1.5 -megawatt fuel cell power plant installation at the Santa Rita Jail
- The first net positive California jail, with Santa Rita Jail exporting 2,000,000 watt-hours of energy to the utility grid that is allocated via energy credits to two adjacent sites — East County Hall of Justice and the Regional Training Center — reducing energy costs at those sites
- New lighting in 52 county buildings, using 30% less electricity
- Generating enough daytime electricity to power more than 3,000 homes
- Preventing 38,600 tons of carbon emission over the next 30 years
- Enrolling in East Bay Community Energy, from which the County procures all energy for its facilities from renewables or low carbon resources
These projects have saved taxpayers millions of dollars over the past decade.
Our projects have also won the County multiple awards recognizing our commitment to a carbon-zero future. And more savings and green projects are in the works.
Clean Energy Projects: Engineering the County’s Future
Alameda County GSA is a pioneer in clean energy technologies. Winner of the 2020 EPA Green Power Partnership recognition as a Top 30 Local Government for green power generation and use, we have also been recognized for:
- Community Greenhouse Gas Reductions
- Agency Greenhouse Gas Reductions
- Agency Energy Savings
- Agency Natural Gas Savings
- Sustainability Best Practices
We are making the County’s buildings cleaner and greener with:
- Rooftop solar
- Cool roofing
- Solar thermal
- Water reclamation and reduction
- High-efficiency boilers, HVAC and other systems
- Megawatt-class fuel cells
- Micro grid installations
We’re saving tax dollars and our planet’s future with the most innovative technologies in energy reduction and carbon-neutral energy sources.
The Santa Rita Jail is the fifth largest in the nation, housing between 4,000 and 4,500 inmates. The facility’s electric load ranges between 1.5MW – 2 MW, with higher loads in summer.
In 2012, the County installed a 1-megawatt fuel cell power plant. It was the first megawatt-class fuel cell in California and was certified by the California Air Resources Board as an ultra-clean distributed generator. The plant generates 50% of the Jail’s electricity needs. It also produces heat used to pre-heat the Jail’s hot water systems.
Replaced in 2016 with a 1.5-megawatt fuel cell, the new fuel cell power plant offsets approximately 90%of the jail’s winter energy needs.
A 2012 Micro Grid installation began providing power to fuel The Santa Rita Jail. A microgrid is composed of multiple, distributed energy sources, including diesel generators, gas-driven fuel cell, battery energy storage, small wind turbines and various types of photovoltaic systems. In its first two years alone, the SRJ microgrid provided a total cost savings of nearly $825,000.
After a 2019 Micro Grid upgrade, Santa Rita Jail has become the First Net Positive Energy Exporter, adding over 2M kilowatt hours of power to two adjacent sites and 1 megawatt of energy to the grid.
In 2021 we will upgrade the micro grid to reduce energy consumption and maximize exporting energy. Upgrades include extending micro grid control to the jail’s central plant and optimization of use to shed loads during peak time where cost and energy demand is at it highest and to save taxpayer dollars.
Alameda County’s facilities generate more solar energy than any local government in the United States. When the County’s solar program started in the early 1990s, we were pioneers in renewable fuels.
Today, more than a decade and 12 solar projects later, Alameda County has installed 3.5 megawatts of solar, generating 7,400,000 watt hours at its facilities: a total of more than 15,000 panels.