WEATHER »
Gibraltar Reservoir overflows its dam on January 24, 2017.

City of Santa Barbara

Gibraltar Reservoir overflows its dam on January 24, 2017.


Santa Barbara Hydropower Back in Business


Santa Barbara’s tiny hydroelectric power plant went back into business now that water again cascades from Gibraltar Dam. Repaired and recommissioned in April 2015 at a cost of $875,000, the turbine has sat idle due to the drought, said Cathy Taylor, water systems manager for the City of Santa Barbara. SoCal Edison buys the clean energy, which should bring between $100,000 and $200,000 in revenue for the city.

Gibraltar Dam’s overflow had powered the Lauro Reservoir water wheel since 1985, but the plant was idled in 1998 due to regulatory issues. Those hurdles were overcome in 2013 with the passage of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, which exempted small projects from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hydropower rules. The plant has the capacity to produce as much as 1,874 megawatts annually — enough to light up 200-300 homes — as long as the water flows through the Gibraltar conduit at its current rate.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Morning Train Runs On Time and Roomy

Twelve weeks after start of commuter service, train is less than half full.

Alleged Butane Honey Oil Dealer Arrested

Dylan Sulit-Swalley was paroled from Pelican Bay State Prison last year.

Crying Children Audibly Illustrate Border Crisis

Inhumane separation of families protested by everyone from Melania Trump to Xavier Becerra.

Two Injured in Alleged DUI Collision

Pedestrians, ages 91 and 50, were walking near Linden Avenue at Ninth Street in Carpinteria.

Carpinterians Gather to Protest Border Policy

'Families are the building block of our entire society,' said Carpinteria Mayor Fred Shaw.