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Success Story

Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant, Salem

Estimated Annual Savings: $135,700

On average, wastewater treatment accounts for 25% of a city’s electric bill in Oregon, but that’s not the case in Salem. The city’s new Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant cogeneration facility will transform the city’s waste into 7,600 megawatt hours of renewable power per year.

“Our cogeneration plant will supply 50% of Willow Lake’s electricity needs, saving us $300,000 a year,” said Jue Zhao, wastewater treatment division manager. “We’ll use excess thermal energy from the plant to heat our administrative building, saving another $30,000 per year in natural gas costs.”

Energy Trust provided $3 million in incentives to support the project, which cost $11.1 million. Salem also received $3 million in funding made possible by customers enrolled in Portland General Electric’s Green FutureSM program.

Willow Lake has also invested $1.4 million in efficiency improvements that have slashed annual energy costs by roughly $135,700. “We have a long and great history investing in energy efficiency with Energy Trust, which has supported us with more than $826,000 in cash incentives over eight years,” said Zhao. “They’ve helped us change our mindset to a culture of efficiency, where we factor energy into all our decision-making.”