Sand Hill Energy Center
Sand Hill Energy Center is Austin Energy’s newest and most efficient power plant. Its thoughtful design and construction methods ensure that every aspect of the plant contributes to the City of Austin’s environmental goals.
Environmentally-friendly building features
The Administration and Control Building was constructed and certified to meet modern green-building LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating standards. It uses a third less energy than a typical building of its size due to careful design of insulation, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and electrical systems.
A 13-kW AC solar rooftop system contributes 6% of the operating energy for the building. Another 28% of operating energy comes from 180 ground-mounted solar thermal collectors which capture the heat of the sun in hot water.
The heat energy in the hot water is used to power a number of the building’s comfort features, such as an absorption chiller (to chill water for air conditioning) in the summer, a heating system in the winter as well as hot water for the building.
Power generation and water efficiency
The combined cycle unit uses heat exhaust from the gas turbine to generate steam which is used to produce additional electricity. Additionally, all of the generating units at the plant are specially-designed to run at low NOx emissions levels.
To help with water efficiency, Sand Hill uses wastewater from the nearby South Austin Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. This greatly reduces the amount of potable water purchased from the City of Austin. The wastewater is used for the combined cycle unit’s cooling tower and may soon be used for other water treatment processes at the plant.
Sand Hill currently uses an average of 1.2 million gallons of wastewater per day and only 200,000 gallons per day of potable water.
About Sand Hill Energy Center
The Sand Hill Energy Center consists of 270 MW of peaking units. Units 1-4 came online in 2001, generating 180 MW. Two additional units totaling 90 MW were added in 2010. A 300 MW combined cycle unit was completed in 2004; it is expandable to 500 MW with the addition of a second gas turbine.
Construction on the combined cycle addition is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2015 and is expected to come online in 2017.
For more detailed information on our power plants, visit the Austin Energy Data Library (Power Supply)
For more information on our green building and conservation programs, visit the Austin Energy Data Library (Energy Efficiency & Conservation)