There’s little doubt that using coal to generate power is a losing proposition for the environment. Carbon emissions from coal-fired plants have been scientifically proven as a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warning. So it’s a huge move for us to extricate ourselves from a contract that brought coal-generated electricity to Santa Clara.
After December 31, 2017, we will no longer import power from the San Juan Power Plant in New Mexico.
When SVP and two other public power utilities entered into the San Juan agreement in 1983, there were few energy options available to utilities that had a responsibility to provide reliable power to their communities. By 2011, however, we realized that we could serve Santa Clara customers at a drastically reduced carbon emission level.
For the past four years, we have negotiated with the San Juan coal plant in the effort to cleanly exit the agreement without leaving huge legal bills or lawsuits for the City of Santa Clara to battle. The delicate negotiations required us to keep quiet about our efforts.
We have been committed to eliminating coal as a source of electricity for our customers and turned toward a combination of new renewable resources and the ultramodern Lodi Energy Center to replace the 51 megawatts of power from San Juan. This lets us be coal-free two years earlier than the 2020 deadline called for in the City of Santa Clara’s Climate Action Plan, effectively reducing the carbon footprint of our power by over 50 percent.
We hope our community joins us in celebrating the exit from coal, and we expect to remain well ahead of state or federally mandated renewable energy requirements for the foreseeable future while keeping electricity rates among the lowest in the state.
Read the full press release on our website.