Crucial Mojave Desert Water System to Rely on Microgrid Power

June 14, 2023
The infrastructure project will deliver clean water to remote and underserved communities.

The Cadiz Water Conservation, Supply and Storage Project covers thousands of acres in the Mojave Desert. It’s designed to store water underground during wet periods, making the region’s water supply more resilient during extreme droughts.

Cadiz, a California water solutions company known for its unique approach to water supply, storage, conveyance and treatment, recently completed the construction of three new groundwater wells at its Mojave facility.

The wells are designed to capture 50,000 acre-feet of surplus groundwater per year rather than letting it evaporate under the desert sun.

Cadiz plans to transport the collected water to remote and underserved communities in Southern California via a series of newly constructed pipelines, as well as repurposed natural gas pipelines.

Powering critical infrastructure with clean energy microgrids

"It takes a lot of energy to produce and move that much water," said Susan Kennedy, executive chair of Cadiz.

The company currently uses diesel generators to manage its off-grid well field but that will soon change thanks to a newly announced partnership.

Cadiz has selected New Jersey-based Scale Microgrid to develop clean energy microgrids to power the project. The company was recognized at Microgrid 2023 with a Greater Good Award for its microgrid at Gallaudet University.

"Microgrid technology has improved to the point where shifting to clean energy is now the most cost-effective way to operate off-grid," Kennedy said, adding that the microgrid will allow Cadiz to deliver clean water reliably, sustainably and cost-effectively.

The plan calls for a 1,120 kW ground-mounted solar array, a 693 kW/2664 kWh battery energy storage system, 380 kW of ultra-low emission generation, smart controls and a switchboard at each well.

Advanced microgrid controls will allow remote monitoring of the system, which is expected to lower energy costs by 30% and provide 100% uptime.

Lower costs and emissions, greater reliability

Many water providers are turning to microgrids as a source of reliable power, as demonstrated in Microgrid Knowledge’s recent educational series on the topic.

In addition to projects in California, multiple municipalities in Texas are also investing in microgrids at water and wastewater treatment facilities.

But it’s the nature of the Cadiz project that sets it apart from the pack.

Cadiz aims to have 25-30 production wells in place by the time the project is finished, allowing the company’s Northern Pipeline to transport 11 million tons of fresh water to Southern California communities every year.

“Scale's solar-hybrid microgrid systems can give us the reliability we need at significantly lower cost while reducing emissions as much as 75%, demonstrating that clean energy and clean water go hand-in-hand," Kennedy said.

"Scale and Cadiz have strong compatibility when it comes to being mission-driven and aligned in the vision of a world where water resources are sustainably managed and available to all, equitably," said Ryan Goodman, co-founder and CEO of Scale Microgrid.

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About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

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