Oakdale goes green with new tech and lighting

The City of Oakdale will be saving thousands of dollars each year through new energy efficient street lights and by adding new technology to its water wells.

A total of 184 brand new street lights with induction-style bulbs have been installed, casting a brighter glow on city streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

The City also has installed variable frequency drive, or VFD, units at three of its water wells, enabling significant savings by controlling energy to the pumps and thus regulating their speed and consumption of power. A VFD allows for smoother operation, acceleration control and different operating speeds for various operations.

“This project will help us, as a City, lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower our electricity bills, and turn back on some of the street lights that have been dark for years now,” said Anthony Smith, Oakdale Administrative Analyst. “In addition, the new variable frequency drives will allow us to lower energy consumption and better respond to changes in demand in the water system.”

What this means to the average taxpayer is significant savings to City coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits when complete will save the City about 204,159 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $25,000 a year and a greenhouse gas reduction about the same as taking 29 cars off the road.

And that’s a big deal in these troubled economic times.

The money that makes the majority of the project possible comes from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is administered through the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission.

Oakdale joined with 35 other cities and counties in the region to form the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Partnership, which is led by the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District with the assistance of the nonprofit San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization. The Partnership administers the more than $4 million in grants and provides technical assistance to local governments.