2021 winter storm spurs SAWS to add backup generators at pumps

SAN ANTONIO — With Winter season Storm Uri in brain, the San Antonio H2o Technique and CPS Electricity have come collectively to incorporate backup electrical power turbines during the city’s pumping stations.

Following the storm, which knocked out electricity and water in San Antonio for times on finish, the Texas Commision on Environmental High-quality named on all drinking water utilities across Texas — apart from in Harris and Fort Bend counties — to reevaluate their crisis plans. The updated programs were being to be submitted to the TCEQ for evaluation by March 1 and executed July 1.

For its crisis-preparedness plan, SAWS need to provide a bare minimum of 20 psi of water pressure throughout the utility’s support location just after a 24-hour electric power outage. Any tension underneath 20 psi would have to have a boil water discover. With this new program, the turbines — which generate a combined 30 megawatts — can aid keep the stress sustained and drinking water operating.

SAWS and CPS permitted the generator system at a put together board conference Wednesday.

“This is an indicator of our two general public utilities’ doing the job together for the betterment of our clients,” said Robert Puente, CEO of SAWS. “We need to have to be responsive and imagine we’re responsive.”

SAWS President and CEO Robert Puente speaks for the duration of a joint CPS and SAWS board conference Wednesday afternoon at CPS headquarters. The boards went over and other initiatives in addition to a generator initiative to set turbines at pumping stations all over San Antonio.

Robin Jerstad, San Antonio Express-News

The plan’s complete cost, which SAWS and CPS will break up, is about $202 million. Adding organic fuel generators at 15 pump stations will price about $97 million, and adding diesel generators at 21 other stations will expense $105 million.

The drinking water utility will obtain and put in the pure gasoline generators. Then CPS will work and preserve them. It will run them when SAWS demands the resilience support, such as throughout an outage. Most of the time, however, CPS will operate the generators every time helpful for the electrical enterprise and make income at the exact same time.

The requirements for the diesel-fueled turbines are in preliminary phases, and SAWS is working on procurement.

“We’re chatting about a large amount of turbines,” mentioned Steven Clouse, senior vice president and main operating officer for SAWS. “When the emergency arrives, although we’ll do a excellent career protecting these turbines, there could be a likelihood just one of them goes out. We want to make guaranteed that if we reduce a generator, it does not take our group down with it.”

A 2015 report commissioned by the town suggested that SAWS acquire turbines to back again up its pumping stations. But the utility experienced not carried out so when Winter Storm Uri arrived in February 2021, and CPS shut down electric power to circuits which include the pumping stations to assistance continue to keep the state’s electric grid from collapsing.

The correct facts of the new generator system, which will consider about seven years for SAWS to entire, are not public for security motives.

The moment the units are on the web, CPS will get over functions for 20 many years. At the finish of that expression, the drinking water utility will carry on operations.

CPS will know when to operate the generators by analyzing the current market electric powered demands and selling to the Texas grid to get the best value, Puente claimed. Then CPS will keep that income to pay back for the generators’ operational maintenance. Any leftover revenue will go to SAWS for the price tag of the generators on their own.

SAWS Chairwoman Jelynne LeBlanc Jamison reported the buildout is “a wonderful get started.”

“But I’m also genuinely on the lookout forward to the foreseeable future,” she claimed. “I think this will be a setting up issue for us to speak about much more complicated assignments that seriously get to the root of power and drinking water reduction for our group.”

Elena Bruess writes for the Categorical-News by way of Report for America, a nationwide services method that areas journalists in community newsrooms. ReportforAmerica.org. [email protected]