U.S. EPA to Provide $585 Million for Climate-Resilient Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Plant
Poseidon Water released the following statement in response to today's announcement that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected the proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Project to apply for $585 million in credit assistance under the federal government's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).
"We are pleased by the U.S. EPA's acknowledgment that the Huntington Beach Desalination Project is an environmentally sound, regionally significant project that will produce clean, safe drinking water and high-quality jobs," said Poseidon Water CEO Carlos Riva. "WIFIA will make a tangible difference for Orange (News - Alert) County, providing ratepayers with affordable water that is locally controlled and climate resilient. The program is an excellent example of how the federal government can foster Public-Private Partnerships that modernize our nation's water infrastructure."
In 2015, Poseidon Water and the Orange County Water District entered into a Water Purchase Agreement Term Sheet for the purchase of the plant's full 50 MGD capacity. The Project's WIFIA application was sponsored by the Orange County Water District, which stated, "A WIFIA financing award will help reduce the ratepayer cost of the potable water produced by the desalination Project, accelerating the Project development and ultimately provide a new, locally controlled drought-proof supply of drinking water for Southern California."
The WIFIA program accelerates investment in the nation's ater infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. The benefits of the credit assistance provided by WIFIA to the Huntington Beach Project will result in a direct financial pass through to Orange County water ratepayers, which Poseidon estimates will reduce consumer water costs by $290 million over the life of the Project as compared to current financing options.
The WIFIA program was established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, during the last term in public office for former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, a California environmental icon.
"When the WIFIA program was established by Congress, it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Everyone, regardless of party, knew it would be a great way to reduce costs to the consumer, encourage state of the art technology, create jobs, and help our country meet the challenges of climate change. The legislation created a high bar for a project to meet and the Huntington Beach Project meets every criteria," said Senator Boxer.
This year, EPA will help finance over $6 billion in water infrastructure investments that will create up to 190,000 jobs, upgrade aging infrastructure, reduce lead exposure, and improve the lives of millions of Americans across the country. In 2018, construction of the final phase of the Orange County Water District's Groundwater Replenishment System received a WIFIA loan.
After a robust, statutorily required review process, the Huntington Beach Desalination Project was selected as one of 38 projects nationwide, representing large and small communities, who submitted letters of interest to EPA in response to the 2019 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Together, the selected borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling up to $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments and create up to 190,000 jobs.
With EPA's WIFIA loan, the Huntington Beach Desalination Plant will provide 50 million gallons per day (56,000-acre-feet per year) of reliable, climate-resilient water to approximately 400,000 people in Orange County. The plant will be Orange County's largest single source of local supply water supply.
The plant will provide a highly reliable water supply produced with state-of-the-art technology to reduce energy demands, and it will also be one of the only water infrastructure projects in the state to have a zero net carbon footprint. The Huntington Beach Desalination Project will include over 1.5 million labor hours in Orange County, supporting an estimated 3,000 jobs and infusing $500 million into the local economy.
The Huntington Beach Desalination Plant will open a new chapter in water supply reliability for the Orange County region and the state by tapping the potential of the Pacific Ocean and reducing dependence on strained resources such as the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta. It is bolstering the region's self-reliance, and in turn, its future by meeting the needs of future generations.
About Poseidon Water
Poseidon Water is a private company that partners with public agencies to deliver water infrastructure projects. The company's primary focus is developing large-scale reverse osmosis seawater desalination plants implemented through innovative public-private partnerships in which private enterprise assumes the developmental and financial risks. For more information on Poseidon's Carlsbad Desalination Plant, visit carlsbaddesal.com and for more information on Poseidon's Huntington Beach desalination plant, visit HBfreshwater.com.
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