Black & Veatch advances Palmdale Water District's commitment to renewable energy

Aug. 27, 2002
Black & Veatch announced it has been selected by the Palmdale Water District (PWD) to assist in the development of two renewable energy projects to be located in Palmdale, Calif.


Kansas City, Mo., August 27, 2002 -- Black & Veatch, a global consulting, engineering and construction company, announced recently it has been selected by the Palmdale Water District (PWD) to assist in the development of two renewable energy projects to be located in Palmdale, Calif.

The project, which consists of both solar energy and wind energy components, is in the design phase and is expected to reduce the District's dependency on power from other power providers, decrease environmental impact and enhance reliability.

Together, the solar and wind systems will contribute about 15 percent of PWD's energy supply. In early 2001, the PWD was faced with increased energy prices and the threat of supply interruptions from their current power provider. To alleviate the situation, the District sought alternative options for future energy supply for its water pumping and treatment operations and hired Black & Veatch Corporation to evaluate options for energy generation, which included renewable energy.

A variety of options were presented, and the Board of Directors for the PWD decided to investigate the possibility of solar and wind generation projects.

"Black & Veatch has worked with the District to address pollution, reliability and utility costs. The implementation of a renewable power system will help alleviate the challenges that Palmdale has faced for many years," said Black & Veatch Project Manager Allen Dennis. "We believe renewables present a solution to these challenges that will help the District prepare for the future."

The wind component is expected to be one of the largest renewable energy projects interconnected under the California Net Metering Program. It will harness Palmdale's predictable and inexhaustible wind resources through a single large 600 to 1,000 kW turbine for onsite generation located at PWD's Water Treatment Plant.

By generating their own wind power as opposed to purchasing power from other providers, the District's generation costs would be reduced. Wind power generation costs have declined steadily over the past decade as the technology has matured.

With government incentives, wind power can be generated at costs competitive with fossil fuel power plants. The District will pursue net-metering and self-generation incentives offered by the state of California. Research has shown that wind energy is much cleaner than fossil fuels.

Wind power in place of fossil fuels reduces smog, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. While many industrial facilities are noisy, wind plants are very quiet in comparison. In fact, they are quieter than road traffic, and at 750 to 1,000 feet, they are as quiet as a refrigerator.

The solar system will consist of a 30 kW solar array for onsite generation at PWD's offices. Many cities around the United States have invested in solar power to alleviate their reliance on coal, oil and other non renewable sources.

More specifically, solar power is a renewable and infinite resource; the system is free of any emissions, including carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas); it is considered a free resource after capital cost of installation (excluding maintenance); and maintenance of the associated equipment is low compared to fossil fuel sources.

The project is near completion of the RFP (Request for Proposal) stage. Several locations throughout the community were evaluated by the level of solar exposure, the amount of generation that could be produced by photovoltaic (PV) modules, and the potential for reducing current rates from other providers.

The system is expected to produce the highest levels of generation during summer midday peak periods, which will lower the District's peak electric demand. Solar electricity or PV can be produced wherever sunlight is present, even under cloudy or overcast conditions.

"The establishment of renewable energy is expected to open the doors to many energy opportunities," said Palmdale Water District President of the Board Les Carter. "We are very excited to be a leader in our community as a power generation provider. This means a cleaner environment with healthier air, and stable, low rates for customers." Both the solar and wind sites are expected to be operational by the end of 2002.

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch Corp. is a global engineering, construction and consulting company specializing in infrastructure development in the fields of energy, water and information.

Founded in 1915, Black & Veatch serves its clients with conceptual and preliminary engineering services, engineering design, procurement, construction, financial management, asset management, information technology, environmental, security design and consulting, and management consulting services.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., the employee-owned company has more than 90 offices worldwide. Black & Veatch is ranked 80th on the Forbes "500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S." listing for 2001. The company's Web site address is www.bv.com.

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