Hydropower is the technology of using the force of falling water to generate electrical power. Yuba Water Agency’s hydropower facilities provide clean energy and important electric grid stabilization, especially for solar and wind energy, in Northern California. The Yuba River Development Project includes a modern series of dams and hydropower facilities capable of generating up to 417 megawatts of carbon-free energy, which is enough to supply more than 400,000 homes and businesses throughout California.
New Colgate Powerhouse
New Colgate Powerhouse, Yuba Water Agency’s biggest, houses two of the largest single-cast Pelton Wheel turbines ever built. Water carried nearly five miles from New Bullards Bar Reservoir through a 26-foot-diameter tunnel is routed down a 15-foot-diameter penstock to drive Colgate’s two powerful turbines, producing a total of up to 350 megawatts of electricity.
Costs and Benefits
The power purchase agreement with PG&E that enabled the Yuba River Development Project to be built, expired on May 1, 2016. Now, Yuba Water Agency is solely responsible for all of the costs and benefits of the facilities. Yuba Water Agency’s power is sold into the California Independent System Operator electricity market and the revenues are used to pay for expenses, and to invest in Yuba County through projects to reduce the risk of flooding, maintain water supply reliability and be a good environmental steward.