ORENCO Hydropower Wins Contract to Supply 320 kW Hydroelectric Equipment Package for the Placer County Water Agency in Northern California

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Water-to-wire equipment package, including turbines, generators, valves, switchgear, control systems and more, allows the Placer County Water Agency to generate hydroelectric energy using the water that flows from PCWA to the City of Lincoln, starting in late 2014.

ORENCO Hydropower has announced the company has recently received the notice to proceed to fabricate a 320 kW water-to-wire hydroelectric equipment package for the Lincoln Metering and Hydroelectric Station for Placer County Water Agency (PCWA). The PCWA Board of Directors awarded the contract to F&H Construction of Lodi, California, for purchase of hydroelectric generation equipment from ORENCO Hydropower, which will be added to the PCWA Lincoln metering station. The winning bid for the equipment package was $745,000.

ORENCO Hydropower is working with F&H Construction, the general contractor on the project. The equipment package includes two vertical Francis turbines, induction generators, valves, switchgear and control systems. The project also includes integration, design, materials and services necessary to complete the equipment manufacture and supply contract; including supervision, testing, start-up and commissioning.

The contract has two phases: the first phase, design of the hydropower system, is nearly complete. The second phase, equipment procurement, is underway and scheduled for completion in September 2014. The turbines and generators are being sourced from Fuzhou Fang Yuan Machinery and Electricity Co. of Fuzhou, Fujian, China. The controls and switchgear are supplied by Bat Electric of Redding, California. Startup is expected in late 2014.

According to Mark Matousek, Vice Chairman of ORENCO Hydropower, its U.S./Chinese team is pleased to provide a bid that features significant value. “It is rewarding to be able to offer a bid that combines low cost and high output,” said Mr. Matousek. “We were very pleased to provide a strong bid to the Placer County Water Agency, which is due in large part to our access and long-time relationships with different equipment suppliers. This allowed us to match the specific needs of the Lincoln Metering and Hydroelectric Station project with the best providers.”

The project will allow the Placer County Water Agency to generate hydroelectric energy using the water that flows from PCWA to the City of Lincoln. The micro-hydro plant will produce about $175,000 worth of electricity per year, which will be sold to the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

The new hydroelectric turbines will be installed at PCWA's existing Lincoln Metering Station. Currently, pressure-reducing valves at the Lincoln Metering Station dissipate excess water energy as water flows from PCWA's water treatment facilities downhill to the City of Lincoln. The design is typical of many water treatment and conduit systems in California, where water flows from reservoirs high in the Sierra Nevada mountains to lower-elevation cities and towns to the west.

Historically, pressure-reducing valves made more economic sense than small hydropower systems. But today, clean energy is at a premium. By installing the turbines, PCWA will supply 1,700 kWh per year of clean energy to the PG&E grid without changing its water delivery schedule. Because the new turbines will be located at the existing station, the civil works required are minimal; the turbines do not require installation of a new dam or long pipeline.

The conduit delivers clean drinking water to the City of Lincoln. This presents a unique certification requirement for the hydro turbines. Although turbines do not cause water contamination, the materials in the turbine have been carefully reviewed, and the turbines will receive certification according to the strict requirements of NSF-61* in compliance with California's water quality and health laws.

When complete, the new hydropower system will operate seamlessly with the existing valve station and enhance PCWA's control capabilities. As a result, the new equipment will improve system monitoring and operational capability in the case of a power outage, thereby helping ensure water delivery to the City of Lincoln.

The PCWA project demonstrates the economic benefits of in-conduit hydropower systems. With current market conditions, a vast number of similar sites are ripe for development. Of note is recent federal legislation passed with unanimous congressional support and signed by President Barack Obama that eases requirements for in-conduit hydropower projects. Previously, licensing cost and risk have been significant barriers to development of small hydro projects; this new legislation opens the door for further development, which helps provide additional renewable energy at lower cost.

ORENCO Hydropower, Inc. develops small hydropower generation assets at existing dams and waterways that are low-cost and low-impact. The company assembles and manages a portfolio of hydro projects; and provides engineering, equipment procurement and financing for ongoing projects. Products and services include end-to end development of 1 MW to 50 MW hydropower projects; resale and integration of reliable Chinese turbines and generators to other hydro developers – at significant cost advantages; and partnering with small hydro developers to provide project financing and support.

Founded in 2010, ORENCO Hydropower brings together experts in hydro asset design and development, power markets, licensing and business strategy. In addition, key venture partners provide project financing. Based in Palo Alto, California, ORENCO Hydropower builds upon the expertise, experience and international business relationships of ORENCO, Inc., begun in 1979.

For more information, please contact ORENCO Hydropower by telephone at 650-475-4403, by email at info(at)orencohydro(dot)com or online at http://www.orencohydro.com.


For more information on the company's products and services, please contact:

    MARK MATOUSEK, Vice Chairman, ORENCO Hydropower
    Phone: 650-475-4403    Email: mmatousek(at)orencohydro(dot)com


  • NSF/ANSI Standard 61 (NSF-61) is a set of national standards that relates to water treatment and establishes stringent requirements for the control of equipment that comes in contact with either potable water or products that support the production of potable water. NSF-61 was developed by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), a global independent public health and environmental organization, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which oversees the consensus for developing standards for manufacturing and procedures in the United States. See http://www.nsf.org for more information.

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Jill Turner
Rodin & Shelley Associates
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