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SSJID seeks to slash its PG&E bill with turbines placed in its canals
canal turbine
An Emergy canal turbine

South San Joaquin Irrigation may start installing turbines in its main canal to reduce the PG&E bill required to operate the water treatment plant that supplies drinking water to the cities of Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy.

Emrgy is proposing placing a turbine in the canal between North Dodds Road and Woodward Reservoir. The power generated would be half the cost per kilowatt hour than what the district buys from PG&E based on current rates.

The canal turbines if the SSJID board decides to go with them when they meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the district office, 11001 East Highway 120, just east of Manteca would augment efforts the district already has in place to reduce water treatment power costs through a 1.4 million kilowatt hour solar array already in place.

That installation offsets between 50 and 60 percent of the water treatment plant’s annual power consumption.

The district was looking at ways of increasing its solar production when they came across the new technology.

It would be less expensive to pursue than expanding solar production if the pilot project to generate power from water flowing in the canal pans out.

There are between 10 and 15 other locations on the canal that offer the needed conditions such as the water flow and slope that would work as effective placement locations  for turbines to generate electricity.

Based on historic flow rates for the six to seven months the irrigation season is underway, the turbines could generate up to 290,000 kilowatts a year. That would be at half the cost of what PG&E currently charges for electricity.

The company has installed its turbine technology in several irrigation districts across the country.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email