San Diego Gas & Electric goes greener

by Ernie Hernandez on February 18, 2012

Solar Panel Array

Utility looking to add solar and wind power

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is adding 300 megawatts (MW) of green power to its power generating capabilities through two long term contracts. Both contracts require state agency approval.

The first contract is a 20-year 100 MW agreement with Manzana Wind Power Project to purchase power from Manzana’s 189 MW wind power facility currently under construction. The power plant will be about 55 miles north of Los Angeles near Rosamond, California in the Tehachapi Mountain range. The Tehachapis are home to the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm, the largest wind farm in the country.

The second contract is a 25-year agreement to buy 200 MW from the Mount Signal Solar Farm in Imperial Valley, California, a project of 8minutenergy. 8minutenergy is a California based company with a portfolio of solar projects generating over 2,000 MW of power. The total production of 8minutenergy will ultimately be able to power over one million households in California. Currently under construction, the first available production from the Mount Signal Solar Farm is expected to come online by mid-2013. And, yes, the name of the company comes from how long it takes light to travel from the surface of the sun to the earth.

Renewable energy has become a much more significant contributor to SDG&E’s power generation capabilities. 10 years ago renewable energy made up one percent of their portfolio. Renewable energy now contributes 20 percent, and the goal is to achieve 33 percent renewable power by 2020. As photovoltaic cells improve and wind power becomes more refined, these sources will become ever more important to utilities all over the country. The ability to transmit power over thousands of miles with minimal transmission power losses will make these types of agreements more common as wind and solar farms continue to be developed.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sasparilla February 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Always nice to see good news on this front – progress. With the federal wind tax credit on schedule for expiration at the end of the year – and the GOP making it a primary target (making extension unlikely and the industry heading towards hard times in most other states), its good to see things are still moving forward in California. I hope the US producers of wind and solar can make it through this decade, by then their costs will be below coal and gas (i.e. the low cost energy solution).

Frankly, compared with the rest of the states, California seems like a completely different country (or different universe really) when it comes to green energy and climate change. You guys go, go, go…when the rest of the country comes to its senses in 10 or 20 years we’ll need a good example on the green energy front and there you folks will be, showing us how this can be done.

Always good to mention, the beauty of an EV / plug in is that as the power infrastructure is made greener, the associated EV’s / plug-in’s green right up with it.

BTW, I noticed that Nissan CEO said the US Leaf sales target for 2012 was 20,000 (still well over Prius numbers for its 2nd year).


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