The Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County has unveiled its very own electrical grid. A jail spokesperson told the Mercury News that the facility has “the capacity to unplug from the power grid” and still meet energy needs.
The grid was developed by Chevron Energy Solutions and allows the jail to combine solar, wind, and fuel cell capacity. It further allows for energy to be stored for future use, which means the Santa Rita Jail is immune to blackouts.
This is good news for the Alameda jail, which was forced to rely on diesel generators for almost 30 days during the 2001 energy crisis.
Funding for the grid came from a number of sources including grant funding from the Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission. Mercury News further reported that an additional $2.5 million was contributed by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).
Experts believe that the county will save “at least” $100,000 annually due to the instillation because it will be able to “unplug” from PG&E during summer months, when energy costs are at their peak.
A representative from Chevron Energy Solutions said the jail will also be able to add additional wind, solar and fuel cells to the grid in the future without disrupting its power supply.