More solar power to California

by Antonio Pasolini on May 25, 2009

solar power CaliforniaPacific Gas and Electric Company announced earlier this month that it has entered into a series of contracts with BrightSource Energy for a record total of 1,310 megawatts (MW) of solar thermal power. These power purchase agreements, covering seven projects, supersede the agreements PG&E executed with BrightSource in April 2008 for up to 900 MW of solar thermal power.

The first of these solar power plants, sized at 110 MW and located in Ivanpah, California, is contracted to begin operation in 2012. BrightSource will build and place in commercial operation each of its plants as quickly as permitting and infrastructure allow. All seven projects are expected to produce 3,666 gigawatt-hours of power each year, equal to the annual consumption of about 530,000 average homes.

“The solar thermal projects announced today exemplify PG&E’s commitment to increasing the amount of renewable energy we provide to our customers throughout northern and central California,” said John Conway, senior vice president of energy supply for PG&E. “Through these agreements with BrightSource, we can harness the sun’s energy to meet our customers’ power requirements when they need it most – during hot summer days.”

Since 2002, PG&E has entered into contracts for more than 20 percent of its future electric power deliveries from renewable sources. On average, half of the electricity PG&E delivers to its customers comes from carbon-free generating sources, which, according to the company, makes its energy some of the cleanest in the nation.

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