SANTA CLARA, CA- July 23, 2021, marks the 125th birthday of the City of Santa Clara’s municipal electric utility, Silicon Valley Power (SVP). At the July 6, 2021, Council meeting, Mayor Lisa M. Gillmor and the City Council celebrated the milestone. Mayor Gillmor expressed appreciation for SVP’s dedication to the community in providing 125 years of reliable and affordable electric service and excitement about the future of community-owned electric utilities.
Today, SVP has grown from 46 streetlights in 1896 to 8,122 today, and it now serves more than 58,700 electric customers. SVP owns, operates and outsources more than 1,000 Megawatts (MW) of electric generating resources and delivers a peak load of approximately 600 MW.
Since 1965, SVP has diversified its portfolio of generation resources by fuel type and geographic location, and is working on adding an additional 500 MW of clean energy to its portfolio in the next five years. As SVP moves toward carbon-free electricity in 2045, its new generation investments are entirely in clean energy. SVP’s mission to customers stems from its humble beginnings: We are dedicated to our community, customers, and employees. We provide safe, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy services with exceptional customer focus.
On July 23, 1896, the Santa Clara Board of Town Trustees authorized the creation of the electric utility and directed the Town Clerk to terminate the contract with the San Jose Electric Improvement Company, which was then providing light to the Town of Santa Clara. Since then, the electric utility has celebrated some incredible milestones:
- October 1896 – The City constructed a lighting system consisting of 46 direct-current lamps and a generator.
- 1903 – The City invested $5,000 to convert the system to alternating current, abandoned the small generating plant and began purchasing wholesale power.
- 1904 – 1965 – The City’s utility purchased all of its electric power requirements from investor-owned utilities.
- 1965 – The utility received an allocation of power from the Federal Central Valley Project and began to diversify its resources – the first step toward achieving the diverse portfolio the utility has today.
- 1968 – The City became a charter member of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA). Through the 1970’s, the City and NCPA worked on behalf of all municipal electric utilities in Northern California to gain access to wholesale transmission markets and jointly develop cost-effective electric generation resources.
- 1980 – For the first time in 76 years, the City’s utility again became a generating utility with the operation of the 6 Megawatt Cogen 1 power plant.
- 1983 – The 110 Megawatt NCPA Geothermal Project, the first municipally owned and operated geothermal power plant in the United States, entered service with the City as a lead partner, holding 55% ownership.
- March 1998 – The City’s utility officially changed its name to Silicon Valley Power (SVP) to reflect the vital role it plays in serving a growing community of innovation and technology. SVP now powers some of the world’s largest high-tech and data center companies.
Visit SiliconValleyPower.com/OurStory to learn more about Silicon Valley Power’s history.
About the City of Santa Clara
Located at the heart of Silicon Valley, about 45 miles south of San Francisco, the City of Santa Clara truly is “The Center of What’s Possible.” Incorporated in 1852, Santa Clara covers an area of 19.3 square miles with a population of 129,498. Santa Clara is home to an extraordinary array of high-tech companies, including Applied Materials, Intel, Nvidia, Oracle, and Ericsson. The City of Santa Clara is also home to Santa Clara University, California’s Great America Theme Park, and Levi’s® Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers and Super Bowl 50. For more information, visit SantaClaraCA.gov.
About Silicon Valley Power
Silicon Valley Power (SVP) is the trademark adopted for use by the not-for-profit electric municipal utility of Santa Clara, CA, serving residents and businesses for over 120 years. SVP provides power to nearly 55,000 customers, at rates 25 to 48 percent below neighboring communities. SVP is the only full service, vertically integrated publicly owned utility in Silicon Valley owning generation, transmission and distribution assets. See more at: SiliconValleyPower.com.
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