Where does SMUD get your power?

We get power from various sources, including hydropower, natural-gas-fired generators, renewable energy such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass, and power we purchase on the wholesale market. Our goal is a balanced and sustainable mix of sources. Our biggest single source is the Cosumnes Power Plant and we are always adding to our green energy sources.

​Power sources

SMUD has been a leader in solar power for over 30 years and has continued to be a solar pioneer. Our Rancho Seco Solar project is a prime example of how we're sourcing more renewable energy and looking towards a sustainable future. 

In fact, our resource portfolio includes over 170 MW of solar generation. That’s enough to power over 45,000 homes annually – based on 750 kWh/month average household electricity use.

 

And we’re not done. Between 2020 and 2022, we’ll add 273 megawatts of new solar.

We’re proud that both our East Campus-Operations Center and our Downtown Headquarters campus generate solar power onsite to minimize our own local impact on the electric grid.

Solar for your home

More than 28,000 SMUD customers operate rooftop solar panels totaling 210 MW of renewable capacity.

We're investing over $20 million in the next few years on infrastructure and software updates to be able to manage and accommodate the expected increases in renewable energy resources such as rooftop solar.

We also understand some customers are looking for ways to consume more of the solar energy they’re producing, so we’re offering incentives for those with qualified battery storage. 

See if solar is right for you

SMUD's Upper American River Project (UARP), with 11 reservoirs and 9 powerhouses, is the cleanest and most economical and flexible power source we have.

 

Unlike power plants that run on fossil fuels, hydroelectric powerhouses emit no carbon dioxide. Plus, the same “fuel” is used over and over again as water flows downstream from one powerhouse to the next.

 

Every inch of rain at the UARP results in a savings of about $1.2 million. In a normal water year, the UARP provides approximately 16% of SMUD’s power needs. An additional 6% of our generation is provided by two hydro power contracts, allowing us to meet a total of about 22% of our total power needs with carbon-free hydro generation.

 

Operating and maintaining our hydro facilities requires a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). A new 50-year license was issued in July 2014.

Wind power is another highly economical resource. The Delta breezes of Solano County produce electricity that could serve electricity needs equivalent to over 68,000 households based on 750 kWh/month average household electricity use.

Located in the Montezuma Hills near Rio Vista, our Solano wind farm was developed in 1994 and continues to expand. The 3 sites in operation have 107 turbines and produce 230 MW of clean power.

In 2019, we began receiving energy under contract for 200 MW of wind energy from wind-rich regions of New Mexico delivered to California. We will also continue to explore opportunities to add new turbines and upgrade older turbines at our Solano wind farm. By 2022, we’ll add 300 megawatts of new wind.

We study the wind patterns and pick the best spots for the turbines, making sure they take full advantage of the winds that whip in from the coast, squeeze through the Carquinez Straits, and spill into the Delta. Our Solano site is considered one of the best locations in all of California for wind generation.

Biomass is the energy stored in plants and other organic materials, including agriculture waste (like cow manure), forestry waste, food waste and wastewater. It can also be converted to renewable natural gas and used to decarbonize natural gas power plants.

Dairy digesters are just one way to use biomass to produce renewable energy. They also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, bring better manure management, reduce odor and flies, and help improve air and water quality. Five of California’s 15 digesters are operating in SMUD’s service territory, by far more than anywhere else in the state.

Geothermal energy is a constant power source, unlike intermittent wind and solar energy. Electricity is generated from steam that’s produced by heat in the earth's crust.

We have a history of Geothermal since the early 1980s and now receive 52 MW annually through contracts in California and Nevada. That’s enough to power more than 38,000 homes per year – based on 750 kWh/month average household electricity use.

Our East-Campus Operations Center uses a form of geothermal heating. The system uses a network of underground pipes to move heat from the ground into the buildings in the winter. Underground, the temperature stays relatively constant year-round. In the summer, it pulls the heat out of the buildings and releases it back into the ground.

To offer the best price and reliability we completed the 530-megawatt Cosumnes Power Plant in 2006 which is one of the most clean and efficient plants in the western states.  After recent plant upgrades, the Cosumnes plant can now generate up to 600 MW with even better efficiency. SMUD uses renewable natural gas at the Cosumnes plant as available to reduce our GHG impact of operating this power plant.

Located in southern Sacramento County, it generates enough electricity to power more than 450,000 single-family homes.

The Power Content Label compares SMUD’s generated and purchased power to the State of California power mix.

In December 2019, the California Energy Commission revised the Power Content Label (PCL) rules, prohibiting inclusion of unbundled renewable energy credits (RECs) under the renewable categories of the PCL. As a result, the renewable percentages reflected in the 2019 PCL for Greenergy products will differ from labels certified under the nationally recognized Green-e program. For more information about the renewable sources of these unbundled RECs, please refer to the Greenergy Product Content Labels.

Unbundled RECs support renewable generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and qualify to meet our Renewables Portfolio Standard program obligation.