Hydropower

Hydropower is the technology of using the force of falling water to generate electrical power. YCWA’s hydropower facilities provide important electricity grid stabilization in Northern California.

The Yuba River Development Project includes a modern series of dams and hydropower facilities, generating up to 395 megawatts of carbon-free energy, which is enough to supply more than 300,000 homes throughout California.

New Colgate Powerhouse, YCWA’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 an 15-foot-diameter penstock to drive Colgate’s two powerful turbines, producing a total of 340 megawatts of electricity.

The power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company that enabled the Yuba River Development Project to be built, expired on May 1, 2016. Now, YCWA is solely responsible for all of the costs and benefits of the facilities. YCWA’s power is sold into the California Independent System Operator electricity market and the revenues are used to pay for expenses, and to implement its mission to improve and maintain flood protection, water supply reliability and be a good environmental steward.