The Central Coast is getting a boost in its renewable energy portfolio with the construction that is underway of a geothermal plant in Mammoth Lakes that will be able to power thousands of homes.
Monterey-based Central Coast Community Energy and its partner Silicon Valley Clean Energy are contracted to purchase 14 megawatts of power, enough to provide electricity to roughly 10,000 homes. The geothermal plant can produce a total of 30 megawatts, with the other half going to the city of Colton in Southern California.
Central Coast Community Energy is a public agency that provides power through Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s distribution grids as part of a larger conglomeration of what’s called community choice aggregators providing renewable energy to some 11 million customers in the state.
The agency’s geographic range runs from Santa Cruz in the north to Santa Barbara to the south. Its policy board is composed of city and county elected officials throughout its territory.
Central Coast Community Energy says it is on a pathway to 60% clean and renewable energy by 2025 and 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030 — some 15 years ahead of California’s 2045 mandate, according to Shelly Whitworth, a senior energy media specialist with Central Coast Community Energy.
Casa Diablo IV will offset 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide — the top greenhouse gas — annually. That is roughly the equivalent of removing 18 million gallons of gasoline consumed, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
One of the key benefits of geothermal energy is it doesn’t need the sun to be out or the wind to be blowing, like solar and wind energy production requires.
“Carbon-free energy from resources such as geothermal that produce energy in all hours of the day are critical to achieve California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals,” said Girish Balachandran, the chief executive of Silicon Valley Clean Energy, in a press release. “This project will increase reliability and demonstrate the variety of technologies needed to transition away from fossil fuels and to a clean, decarbonized grid.”
The project is estimated to bring over $13 million in economic benefits to the Mammoth Lakes region and will create more than 180 construction jobs.
“Central Coast Community Energy is committed to procuring 100% clean and renewable energy on behalf of our Central Coast customers by 2030 through new and diverse renewable projects,” said Tom Habashi, the agency’s chief executive.