Port of Oakland Adds Geothermal to Clean Energy Portfolio

June 21, 2023

Geysers Power Company facility (Photo: Port of Oakland)
Geysers Power Company facility (Photo: Port of Oakland)

The Port of Oakland’s Board of Port Commissioners recently agreed to purchase up to $13.5 million worth of geothermal energy over 12 years. Geothermal offers a clean, reliable and 100 percent renewable energy source that will be used by the Port and its tenants at the seaport and airport.

The geothermal energy will come from Geysers Power Company (Geysers) facilities, about 75 miles north of San Francisco near Middletown. The Geysers is one of the largest and cleanest geothermal steam fields in the world and the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the world with thirteen facilities along the Sonoma and Lake County border.

Geothermal power is energy derived from the heat of the earth's core. Wells averaging 8,500 feet deep (the deepest is over 2 miles) tap into naturally occurring steam field reservoirs below the earth's surface which are being harnessed to make clean, green, renewable energy.

"The Port's mix of power resources demonstrates our commitment to providing cleaner energy, reliable power and rates lower than surrounding utilities," said Port of Oakland Utilities Manager Jared Carpenter. “Operating an electric utility in California today is challenging with weather events, wildfires and droughts that impede availability of power.

The geothermal energy purchase begins on January 1, 2025 and runs through December 31, 2036, and will average around $1,125,000 per year. Geothermal will account for about 10% per year of our overall energy portfolio to power the Port and its customers. Port Utilities derive their primary sources of sustainable energy from a range of options prioritizing geothermal, biomass, solar, and wind energy.

“This contract is significant because it is a new energy deal for the Port of Oakland--not an extension of a previous deal--that helps enhance our power supply portfolio with another fully renewable natural resource,” said Mr. Carpenter.

The Geysers has a net generating capacity of about 725 megawatts of electricity--enough to power 725,000 homes, or a city the size of San Francisco.

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