San Diego, May 13, 2010 – San Diego Gas and Electric signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with an LS Power unit to procure up to 130 MW of solar energy from the proposed Centinela Solar Energy facility in the Imperial Valley.
“Renewables are the lynchpin of SDG&E’s commitment to becoming the quintessential utility of the future,” said Jessie J. Knight, Jr., chief executive officer of SDG&E. “We are accessing large amounts of environmentally-friendly power and developing infrastructure and smart technology to bring it to our communities. These advances provide tangible benefits for our customers.”
Upon completion in 2014, the new Centinela Solar Energy facility will send up to 130 MW of solar power to SDG&E’s service territory across the Sunrise Powerlink, a 120-mile, 500-kilovolt electric transmission line designed to tap into the renewable resources of the Imperial Valley.
When completed in 2012, the new power line is expected to carry up to 1,000 MW of electricity. Without the Sunrise Powerlink, many renewable energy facilities in the Imperial Valley have no clear path to the San Diego market.
“This contract is the result of diligent efforts focused on cultivating local solar, wind and geothermal resources for San Diego,” said Michael R. Niggli, president and chief operating officer of SDG&E. “It will help us fill the Sunrise Powerlink with green power and meet the state’s aggressive renewable goals.”
The Centinela Solar Energy facility will employ photovoltaic technology on a 1,150-acre site near Calexico, Calif., an area that is ideal for producing solar power due to desert sunlight.
The facility will generate emissions-free energy without the use of water, an important consideration in the arid desert of the Pacific Southwest. In addition to producing clean electricity, the solar project represents a $500-million economic investment in Imperial County and will create hundreds of area construction jobs.
The up to 130 MW contract is one of several agreements with Imperial Valley renewable energy developers for delivery of power to customers over the Sunrise Powerlink. Securing renewable energy from the Imperial Valley is a key focus of SDG&E’s power purchase efforts.
Under the new contract, which runs through 2033, the photovoltaic facility will produce enough green power for about 45,000 households. The contract requires approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.
The project will help SDG&E meet California’s mandate to procure 20 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2010 and the company’s voluntary commitment of 33 percent by 2020.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.
The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, an energy services holding company based in San Diego.
LS Power is a power generation and transmission group involved in the development, construction, or operations of over 20,000 MW of power generation throughout the U.S. LS Power is actively developing both power generation and transmission infrastructure to serve the need for new generation and improve the aging transmission system.