Carlsbad desalination plant cuts production amid heat wave

Sept. 7, 2022
To help avoid blackouts as a heat wave weakens California’s power grid, the Carlson Desalination Plant is ramping down its water production by about 20% for three days.

Operators are temporarily reducing water production at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant to supporting California’s emergency energy conservation efforts during an extreme heat wave.

The San Diego County Water Authority and Poseidon Resources (Channelside) announced the reduction on Sunday, Sept. 4. Starting Sunday, the plant is ramping down operations, making an additional 9 megawatts of power available for other uses.

The plant accounts for less than 1 percent of peak energy demand in San Diego Gas & Electric’s service territory. The Water Authority and Channelside are reducing water production at the plant by about 20 percent for three days over the holiday weekend; regular water deliveries will be made from other sources.

“Desal plant operations are nimble, so production can be ramped up and down in response to local needs,” said Sandra L. Kerl, general manager of the Water Authority. “This flexibility underscores the value of regional water supply planning, which allows us to activate solutions during challenging times.”

The announcement reflects other major changes to water management in the state as a response to the heat wave.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR), one of the largest power producers and consumers in the state, plans to increase its power generation and minimize its water pumping hours. The department has also begun to deploy temporary emergency power generators in Roseville and Yuba city, providing up to 120 megawatts of electricity to the statewide power grid.

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