News Releases

Sierra Pacific Power Replaces Diesel Generators That Provide Emergency Power Supplies to North Lake Tahoe

Apr 10, 2008

Media Contact: Karl Walquist, (775) 834-3891

Sierra Pacific Power is replacing the six diesel generators at Kings Beach that have furnished emergency power supplies to the North Shore of Lake Tahoe for the past 39 years.

The generators, located a block north of the intersection of Deer and Speckled Avenues, are being replaced by new equipment with modern emission controls that will significantly reduce diesel particulate emissions, according Jeff Ceccarelli, president of Sierra Pacific Power. The new generators can produce up to 12 megawatts of electricity.

"These generators have kept the lights on along the North Shore following some of the major winter storms that have damaged one or more of the transmission lines that serve North Lake Tahoe,"Ceccarelli said."Without some sort of back up power generation, the communities at North Lake Tahoe could be without electrical service for an extended period, which has an impact on other services, including water and sewage treatment, traffic lights, schools and medical facilities."

He said the primary goal of the project is to reduce the environmental impacts of the generators in the Lake Tahoe basin.

Tom Christofk, air pollution control officer for the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, said the new generators installed by the utility will reduce annual diesel particulate emissions by approximately 95 percent."That benefits public health and air quality and, ultimately, water quality,"Christofk added.

Although the old generators were located outdoors, the new generating units will be housed in a building equipped with fire suppression equipment to reduce fire risk. The enclosure will greatly reduce the noise produced when the diesels are operating. Other improvements in the facility's fuel storage equipment will reduce the risk of spills. The enclosure will have cinder block walls and a sound insulated metal roof. The roof will be painted a dark green and the exterior walls and doors will be painted a dark brown. 

Removal of the old generators is scheduled to begin on Friday, April 11.  Crews will load the generators onto trucks so they can be transported to Reno. To accommodate the large trucks required to haul the equipment, there will be traffic delays on State Route 267 between Kings Beach and Truckee, particularly near the state highway's intersection with Speckled Avenue, starting the week of April 13.

The diesel generator project was approved in January of 2008 by the Placer County Air Pollution Control District and other local, state and regional agencies. However, approval to widen a road providing access to the facility, required by the North Tahoe Fire Protection District, is pending before the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The total cost of the improvement project is expected to be approximately $16.5 million, and it is expected to be completed in the fall of 2008.