SDG&E signs solar power purchase agreement with CSolar

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced that it has signed a 25-year power-purchase agreement with a subsidiary of CSolar Development, LLC, a renewable energy company managed by Tenaska Solar Ventures, to procure up to 130 megawatts (MW) of renewable power. The solar photovoltaic energy will come from a proposed facility in Imperial County.

"SDG&E is committed to developing new sources of green energy for our customers and this contract illustrates the concentrated effort we’ve made to securing renewable resources in the Imperial Valley," said James P. Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E. "These clean resources will provide our customers in the San Diego region with new renewable energy via the Sunrise Powerlink."

The agreement between SDG&E and CSolar Development is for up to 130 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity to be constructed on a 900-acre site in the southern part of Imperial County called the "Imperial Solar Energy Center South." The project is expected to be completed in 2014.

"We look forward to working with SDG&E to bring additional clean energy development to the homes and businesses of California, which is emerging as the renewable energy capital of the nation," said Dave Fiorelli, president of Tenaska’s Development Group. "This project also will bring up to 250 new construction jobs to Southern California, which is good news in these hard economic times."

The ground-mounted photovoltaic solar power generating system will have a combined capacity of up to 130 MW of electricity. When operating at peak times, the Imperial Solar Energy Center South will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 44,000 California homes. Photovoltaic technology converts sunlight directly into electricity with panels that do not produce noise or emit any greenhouse gases. The technology has limited water supply requirements, an important consideration for the Imperial Valley. In addition to producing clean electricity, the facility represents a significant economic investment in Imperial County and will create hundreds of area construction jobs.

"This project will provide many employment opportunities that are so crucial for our area," said Tim Kelley, chief executive officer of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation. "The new energy center will generate new construction and green energy jobs and become an engine of economic growth. These are just the types of benefits that the Sunrise Powerlink will facilitate and create in the Imperial Valley."

LightSource Renewables, LLC was the originator of the Imperial Solar Energy Center South project and continues to provide ongoing development to the project. "LightSource Renewables believes solar energy is critical to meeting our long term energy needs while protecting our environment," said Peter Fisher, chief executive officer of LightSource Renewables. "We have worked in partnership with community leaders to minimize the project’s impacts and maximize the value the project will bring to the Imperial Valley."

The power generated by the new Imperial Solar Energy Center South will be delivered to customers in SDG&E’s service territory across the Sunrise Powerlink, a 120-mile, 500-kilovolt electric transmission line, which was designed to tap into the vast 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 would have no clear path to the San Diego County market.

This new power contract is just one of three new solar agreements with Imperial Valley renewable energy developers in the past six months for approximately 300 MW of power for delivery to customers over the Sunrise Powerlink. This summer, SDG&E signed two contracts with LS Power for power from the company’s Centinela Solar Energy facility, which will provide up to 175 MW of renewable power. Securing renewable energy from the Imperial Valley is a key focus of SDG&E’s power purchase efforts.

The new solar project in the Imperial Valley 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 SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable 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 customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy /quotes/comstock/13*!sre/quotes/nls/sre (SRE 50.97, -0.31, -0.60%) , a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

Tenaska Solar Ventures, which manages CSOLAR Development, LLC, a renewable energy company, is dedicated to developing, owning and operating solar projects in North America. Tenaska Solar Ventures is managed by Tenaska, an independent energy company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska that develops, constructs, owns, and operates non-utility generation and cogeneration plants. The company also markets natural gas, biofuels and electric power, and provides risk management services in addition to being involved in asset acquisition, fuel supply, natural gas exploration, production and transportation systems, and electric transmission development.

Tenaska has developed approximately 9,000 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity across the United States. Tenaska’s affiliates operate and manage eight power plants in six states totaling more than 6,700 MW of generating capacity owned in partnership with other companies. Tenaska Capital Management, an affiliate, is the manager of private equity funds with approximately $5 billion in assets, including nine power plants (with approximately 5,400 MW of capacity) and multiple natural gas midstream assets, including gas storage, gathering, and processing facilities. Tenaska is repeatedly listed in benchmarking studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council as having among the best fleet-wide records in the United States for controlling emissions.

LightSource Renewables, LLC was the originator of the Imperial Solar Energy Center South project and continues to provide ongoing development services to this project. LightSource Renewables invests in and develops utility scale solar and wind energy plants. Headquartered in San Diego, California, LightSource provides well located, cost effective, sustainable energy solutions to meet the long term energy needs of the United States. LightSource is working both independently and with partners to bring over 1,000 MWs of utility scale solar and wind power projects to fruition.