Five Facts to Guarantee You Will Never See the Hetch Hetchy Power System the Same

​It is Public Power Week and the SFPUC is joining agencies across the United States by celebrating the Hetch Hetchy Power System, its staff and the work that they do.

To kick things off, the SFPUC wanted to share informative facts about the Hetch Hetchy Power System. The Hetch Hetchy Power System encompasses hydroelectric powerhouses heading up toward Hetch Hetchy, transmission lines, and solar facilities located within San Francisco.

Robert C. Kirkwood Powerhouse.

One. Over the last two decades, the Hetch Hetchy Power System has generated almost 20 million megawatt-hours of clean energy for municipal services in San Francisco. If a fossil fuel plant were to produce this energy instead, it would have resulted in 8.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s equivalent to the emissions produced from all the cars on San Francisco’s streets for almost four years.

Two. Put it in perspective: In 2018, Hetch Hetchy generated enough energy to power the equivalent of 300,111 San Francisco households for one year. Hetch Hetchy Power currently provides about 17 percent of the City’s electricity needs. It produced 1,019,176 megawatt hours of clean hydroelectric energy in 2018 ─ that’s equivalent to the amount of energy needed to power 300,111 San Francisco homes for one year.

Wind turbines in Solano County.

Three. At the time of construction, the price tag for the Hetch Hetchy dam was $6,121,000 – that’s over $90 million in 2019 dollars. The Hetch Hetchy Power System began generating clean hydroelectric energy in 1918. Funding for the construction of Hetchy was financed by bonds issued by San Francisco.

Four. Let there be light! The SFPUC owns 25,000 streetlights across the City of San Francisco. The SFPUC owns and operates over half the City’s streetlights which illuminate roads and walkways to help keep the City safe.

Power Enterprise, Street Lighting

Five. Sun power! By the end of 2019, 27 municipal solar energy facilities across the City of San Francisco will generate up to 8.7 megawatts of clean energy. The SFPUC operates the City’s 20+ municipal solar arrays across rooftops on City buildings, such as Moscone Center, City Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, and schools.

Power Enterprise, Davies Symphony Hall Solar Array
Moscone Convention Center Solar Panels.