Organizational History – Who We Are Silicon Valley Power is the trademark adopted for use by the not-for-profit electric municipal utility of Santa Clara, CA serving residents and businesses since 1896. SVP provides power to more than 50,000 customers, including Applied Materials, Intel, Owens Corning,Yahoo! and NVIDIA at rates 15 to 45 percent below neighboring communities. (History.)
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Helium balloons and power lines do not mix, and can cause dangerous power outages when they do. Silicon Valley Power (SVP) continues to remind celebrants to "Hold on Tight" to helium balloons, which can wrap around power lines and cause power outages.
Up to 40,000 endangered European honey bees took up residence inside his streetlight pole scheduled for replacement in Santa Clara. Silicon Valley Power crews called a professional beekeeper to save the hive on Dec. 23, 2015.
Beekeeper and extraction expert Art Hall removed the bolts that hold down the streetlight where a European honey bee colony had taken up residence in Santa Clara. The pole would be removed to a Silicon Valley Power construction yard where the bees will be relocated to a traditional box bee hive.
Bee extractor Art Hall uses smoke to calm the European honey bees inside a Silicon Valley Power streetlight post in Santa Clara on Dec. 23, 2015. He then placed a plastic bag over the base before the pole was transported to a construction yard where the bees will move into a new box bee hive and live out their lives at the 4-H Ranch in Santa Clara.
Silicon Valley Power crew member Chris Foster steadies the light pole housing 30-40,000 European honey bees held inside by a plastic bag until the pole can be placed next to a box bee hive. The bees will migrate to the box hive when they are released.
Larry Owens, Silicon Valley Power (SVP) Customer Services Manager, has received the Northwest Public Power Association’s (NWPPA) lifetime achievement award for his work in customer communications and marketing for SVP, the City of Santa Clara’s municipal electric utility.
Charlie Fortuno of Silicon Valley Power (SVP) has an electrical engineering degree with an emphasis on power engineering.
"Graduates with an engineering degree can get six figures now in the Bay Area utility industry and we get to work with new systems that are changing with the evolution of the energy sector," Fortuno says. "I’ll never run out of new utility IT areas to explore.”
SVP is offering college scholarships and trade school tuition grants up to $5,000 for students studying in fields related to the electric power industry.
Lington Gordon is an Electric Utility Lineman for Silicon Valley Power (SVP).
"I feel like I make a difference in people's lives when I'm working on the system," Gordon said.
SVP offers trade school tuition grants of up to $2,000 and college scholarships up to $5,000 for Santa Clara (CA) college and trade school students studying fields related to the electric power industry.
Bay Checkerspot butterfly
Outdoor Distributed Antenna System (oDAS) nodes in the City of Santa Clara will be mounted on existing structures such as streetlights and light poles in parking lots. The area of the City around the Santa Clara Convention Center, California’s Great America theme park and Levi’s Stadium will have oDAS installed by early 2016 to give cell phone and mobile device users better service from participating cellular companies. This oDAS antenna node is seen near the middle of the light post.
Silicon Valley Power Director John Roukema stands with a wind turbine rotor hub at the Big Horn Wind Energy Project in Washington. SVP’s innovative use of wind technology on behalf of its Santa Clara, CA customers earned it the U.S. Department of Energy’s annual Public Power Wind Award. The award was presented to SVP at the American Public Power Association’s annual conference on June 17, 2014. Wind power helps to partially offset the impacts of low rainfall years and limited hydroelectric resources.
Silicon Valley Power (Santa Clara, CA) began investing in wind power in the early 1980s, and since has partnered with Iberdrola Renewables at the Big Horn Wind Energy Project in Washington (pictured) and the Manzana Wind Project in Southern California. Wind power is helping offset the impacts of a low rainfall year and scarce hydroelectric resources in California. SVP’s use of wind energy earned it the U.S. Department of Energy’s annual Public Power Wind Award on July 17, 2014.
Wind power allows Silicon Valley Power to hold onto precious hydroelectric resources for use during anticipated heat waves this summer. Low rainfall has limited the amount of hydropower available. SVP started investing in wind power in the early 1980s and since has partnered with Iberdrola Renewables to build wind projects in Washington and southern California. The U.S. Department of Energy gave its annual Public Power Wind Award to SVP on June 17, 2014 to honor SVP’s innovative management and customer benefits from its use of wind energy.
SVP’s resource mix is diverse in three ways: fuel type, geographic location and ownership arrangements. This diverse balance creates higher power reliability and helps keep rates low for its Santa Clara customers especially when certain resources are limited or power markets become volatile. SVP has one of the lowest system-average electric rates in California.
Kara Johnson with prototype circuit
Kara Johnson, 2009 Silicon Valley Power Scholarship recipient and Santa Clara High School graduate, works on a prototype circuit for a sensor used in her alternative biofuel research. Johnson is a Ph.D. candidate at U.C. San Diego after earning degrees in genetics and biological systems at U.C. Davis.
Kara Johnson with carbon probe
Kara Johnson shows her work on a carbon probe she used in her biofuels sensor research at U.C. San Diego. A 2009 recipient of a Silicon Valley Power scholarship, the Santa Clara High School graduate earned undergraduate degrees in genetics and biological systems at U.C. Davis. Applications from college and trade school students for the 2014-2015 school year are now being accepted.
Mark Wagner focuses solar mirror
Mark Wagner focuses a mirror on his solar-powered refrigeration system on a rooftop at Santa Clara University. Wagner, studying for a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, was the recipient of a $5,000 tuition scholarship from Silicon Valley Power in 2011. Applications are now being accepted from college and trade school students for the 2014-15 school year.
Mark Wagner at cook stove
Santa Clara University master’s degree candidate Mark Wagner (left) works at a fuel-efficient wood-burning stove that also generates electricity for users in Nicaragua. In addition to his stove research last year, Wagner is currently researching the use of solar energy to power refrigerators in developing countries.
Wi-Fi repeaters are mounted on streetlights to provide free outdoor Internet access within the 19 square miles of the City of Santa Clara, CA. The Wi-Fi system was launched last March, made possible by the Silicon Valley Power (SVP) advanced metering initiative, SVP MeterConnect®. The wireless network used for Wi-Fi will also carry highly encrypted utility usage data to the city when advanced utility meters are installed next year.
Usage of the free outdoor Wi-Fi in Santa Clara regularly exceeds 6,000 users per day, exceeding projections when the system was launched last March.