City of Salem Awarded $3 Million Grant to Upgrade System that Makes Electricity from Wastewater Gas

The City  was awarded a $3 million grant by Portland General Electric's Renewable Development Fund to update its innovative, and clean, power-generation system at the Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Facility. The system, called a cogeneration facility, has powered a portion of the wastewater treatment facility for nearly 30 years by generating electricity from the wastewater treatment process. The grant will allow the City to upgrade the power generated from 650 kilowatts to 1.1 megawatts, enough to power 50 percent of the Willow Lake facility. Furthermore, the additional power from the facility will save the City $300,000 a year.

Specific upgrades include:

  • Maximizing the ability to use available biogas to produce clean, reliable, and renewable energy
  • Using waste heat generated by the cogeneration process to heat the water treatment facility which is currently heated using natural gas
  • Reducing the City's reliance on non-renewable power sources
  • Providing environmental and economic value to the community and the City's ratepayers
  • Replacing the existing system, which is at the end of its useful life

The cogeneration system works by burning the biogas produced as a byproduct of wastewater treatment and using it to power a generator. 

This project was made possible with support from PGE's Renewable Development Fund​. Since 1999, customers of Portland General Electric have supported clean energy by participating in the utility's Green FutureSM power program. To date, PGE Green Future customers have helped fund more than 7.8 Megawatts of new renewable energy generation, with another 3 Megawatts under construction. To learn more about PGE's Renewable Development Fund, including how to apply for the next round of funding, please visit

"Our renewable power customers have really led the way on supporting renewable energy," said Josh Halley, Green Future program manager. "On behalf of our renewable power customers, we are extremely proud to support this project." 

This project was also made possible by the Energy Trust of Oregon​

Find more information on the Willow Lake Water Treatment Facility project page.​

Contact us

Kenny LarsonCommunications and Community Engagement Manager
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 220
Salem OR 97301
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