Port of Oakland expands energy portfolio with geothermal

The Port of Oakland's Board of Commissioners recently voted to purchase up to $13.5 million in geothermal energy over a 12-year period.

The Board of Commissioners at the Port of Oakland has voted to purchase up to $13.5 million in geothermal energy over a 12-year period.

According to the Port of Oakland, geothermal offers a clean, reliable and 100 per cent 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.

Geysers is one of the world’s largest and cleanest geothermal steam fields, as well as the world’s largest complex of geothermal power plants, with 13 units along the Sonoma/Lake County line.

READ: Port of Oakland advances green initiatives

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 1 January 2025 and runs through 31 December 2036, and will average approximately $1.13 per year.

READ: Port of Oakland passes plan for green upgrades at TraPac terminal

Geothermal aims to account for around 10 per cent of our whole energy portfolio in order to power the port and its customers.

Port utilities obtain their principal sources of sustainable energy from a variety of sources, with geothermal, biomass, solar, and wind energy being prioritised.

“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 Carpenter.

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.

In April, the Port of Oakland handled the equivalent of 174,482 TEU.

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