A massive San Francisco Bay Area jail is unveiling a state-of-the-art cell today, but it’s not the kind that holds prisoners, says the Los Angeles Times. Alameda County officials will show off California’s largest fuel cell, a battery-like system expected to cut the Santa Rita Jail’s yearly electric bill by more than $260,000. The $6.1-million undertaking, partly funded with $2.4 million in government grants and incentives, is among large energy-saving projects that have been cropping up at government and large commercial sites where uninterrupted power is a must.
Big power users such as the jail, many of which had electricity cut off sporadically during California’s 2000-01 energy crisis, have found ways to supply some of their own power and reduce their reliance on the electric grid that energizes much of the state. The sprawling jail in Dublin, Ca., was a prime candidate. Santa Rita, with 4,000 inmates, is the third-largest county detention center in the state. Its yearly power bill is $1.6 million.