For Immediate Release: February 25, 2018

Powerhouse Science Center and SMUD announce expanded sponsorship

SMUD and Powerhouse Science Center announced today that a critical piece of funding is now in place to build a new science exploration and education facility on Sacramento’s riverfront. SMUD’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve $9.25 million in total funding for Powerhouse over a 20-year period. 

The expanded agreement provides SMUD—one of the project’s original title sponsors—with exclusive presenting sponsor rights for the science center, which will be named at a later date. The agreement provides SMUD with a number of additional benefits: the opportunity to develop academic enrichment and STEM-focused programs for students; the right to tailor exhibit content related to energy efficiency and electric vehicle technology demonstrations; and the ability to name the facility.

SMUD’s board chose to expand the sponsorship because the new science center will provide a unique opportunity to make progress toward a number of their organizational and community goals. These include:

  • Improving access to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for the entire region, and particularly for students in disadvantaged and underserved neighborhoods.
  • Driving economic development along Sacramento’s riverfront and expanding civic amenities that will help attract and retain businesses. As one of the largest developments along the riverfront in decades, this project will be a catalyst for growth.
  • Expanding workforce development opportunities to increase the number of skilled employees prepared to work in the growth fields of today and tomorrow, including energy, technology, healthcare and more.
  • Exposing more students to fields and career paths that can lead to jobs in the utility sector and increasing the pool of well-qualified applicants for positions at SMUD.
  • Providing impactful, experiential ways to help residents learn more about the benefits of increasing their homes’ energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.

"The choice to support Powerhouse Science Center over the long term aligns perfectly with our goals and strategic directives," said SMUD Board President Gregg Fishman. "We’re always looking for opportunities to support STEM education, economic and workforce development, and environmental protection and sustainability—the new Powerhouse facility checks all of these boxes and more.”

Powerhouse Science Center Board President, Michael Galane, praised SMUD’s commitment for the positive impact it will have on Sacramento and surrounding communities. “Our vision for sharing dynamic science experiences with our visitors is now solidified thanks to SMUD’s incredible support,” said Galane. “Funding from SMUD, as well as our many other project sponsors, ensures that visitors will have an unparalleled connection to science through immersive exhibits and hands-on educational programs right here in Sacramento.”

Extensive planning is already underway for the new science center’s exhibition experiences. Galleries will take visitors on a journey of exploration through fields such as energy, engineering, space, health, and water. Igniting inspiration among visitors to study science on their educational paths or simply cultivating a deep appreciation for the science all around them are among the primary goals of the institution.

“We want to do everything we can to help our region thrive now and into the future,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard. “The new Powerhouse Science Center will provide a spark to riverfront development and help us achieve our STEM education and environmental awareness goals—it’s a win-win for SMUD and our community.”

The new Powerhouse restores and repurposes a city-owned National Historic Landmark building which has sat empty for over 60 years. This will result in an iconic new destination for both residents and visitors to this vibrant city.

Powerhouse Science Center has revealed recently redesigned project renderings of the 50,000 square foot campus where visitors can experience:

  • 20,000 square feet of exhibition space
  • A state-of-the-art 120-seat full-dome digital planetarium theater
  • Welcoming grounds including a redevelopment of Robert T. Matsui Waterfront Park
  • A unique, riverfront special events venue for corporate and private functions

The renderings can be viewed at                                                            

About Powerhouse Science Center

Powerhouse is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has served Sacramento and surrounding counties with a wide variety of public and educational offerings for more than 65 years. Through rotating onsite exhibits and school programming that aligns with California's Next Generation Science Standards, Powerhouse encourages people of all ages to explore the wonders, possibilities, and responsibilities of science. Visit for more information.

About SMUD

As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for more than 70 years to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit