05 - How much electricity does Los Alamos County use each day and what are its sources?
Electric power is measured in watts. A kilowatt (kW) is 1,000 watts, and a megawatt (MW) is 1 million watts. Consumers purchase electricity in Kilowatt-hours (KWh).
If you run a 100-watt lightbulb for an hour, you've used 100 watt-hours. If you run it for 10 hours, you've used 1 kWh, for which the average US household would be billed 11 cents. (In Los Alamos, rates are lower at about 9.52 cents a kWh.)
Los Alamos County used 574,862 megawatt hours of power in Fiscal year 2011. That is 1,575 megawatts a day or 66 megawatts an hour, average.
The average house in New Mexico uses about 660 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. 1 Megawatt can power 333 average homes, according to PNM statewide statistics.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory consumes approximately 80 percent of the power provided by the Los Alamos County DPU.
Power Sources for Los Alamos County (per hour):
In 1985 the DPU and the Department of Energy formed a power pool through an Electric Coordination Agreement (ECA). This allowed the two entities to blend resources. Los Alamos County's resources under the ECA are as follows:
- San Juan Generating Station Unit 4 (coal, 36 megawatts)
- Laramie River Station entitlement (coal, 10 megawatts)
- El Vado hydroelectric facility (hydropower, 10 megawatts)
- Abiquiu hydroelectric facility (hydropower, 17 megawatts - includes a new 3 megawatt low flow turbine)
- Los Alamos' Western Area Power Administration entitlement (hydropower, 1 megawatt)
- County transmission arrangements
- County purchased power contracts
- Los Alamos Nation Laboratory Western Area Power Administration entitlement hydropower (hydropower, 10 megawatts)
Source: http://www.losalamosnm.us/utilities/Pages/Electricity.aspx with additional recent updates provided by the Los Alamos County DPU.
Note that hydropower is considered a renewable source of energy.
The Los Alamos County Power Pool provides up to 88.5 MW of generation resources and an additional 20 MW of power purchases administered through the Electric Coordination Agreement (ECA) between NNSA, the Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities for the purpose of providing electric power to LANL and County customers. Source: NEPA Review - LASO 10-001 - Photovoltaic Array Reuse of Los Alamos County Landfill Location.