Clean Zero-Emission Hydroelectric Energy
Generating Clean Energy
The Merced River Hydroelectric Project is comprised of two hydroelectric powerhouses: New Exchequer and the McSwain Powerhouse. The combined total hydroelectric output for these facilities is over 107 megawatts. Merced Irrigation District’s hydroelectric generation relies on gravity-driven water flowing downhill from Lake McClure Reservoir. On average, MID generates 330,000,000 kilowatt hours of clean, hydroelectric energy each year.
This process starts with snow melt and rainwater flowing downhill from Lake McClure. Gravity allows water to gently flow from the reservoir into our New Exchequer hydroelectric powerhouse. Large turbines harness the kinetic energy of gravity-driven water, and transform it into clean hydroelectric power. This clean energy is then transmitted out onto the grid benefiting California with clean and carbon-emission-free hydroelectric energy.
Merced Irrigation District and the community it serves benefits significantly from owning and operating the Merced River Hydroelectric Project. Its hydroelectric energy is cost-effective and 100% greenhouse gas-free. This energy does not produce any harmful radioactive byproducts or leave behind any waste. This cost-effective, clean electricity keeps our environment clean and benefits air quality in the San Joaquin Valley.
Within the past few years, MID successfully completed a project to upgrade the runner at the McClure powerhouse, the equipment that captures the clean energy from water and spinning the electric generator. The upgrade resulted in an improved efficiency of 8 percent – meaning the same amount of water electricity flowing through the unit produces 8 percent more electricity.
On average, Exchequer generates approximately 300,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year. The upgrade increased the average to 324,000 megawatt-hours. This means that running the same amount of water through the turbine would generate enough additional energy to serve an additional 2,000 homes.