SDG&E expands renewable portfolio by 300 megawatts with solar and wind

SDG&E expands renewable portfolio by 300 megawatts with solar and wind   San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will procure 300 megawatts of renewable energy from two new projects, one wind and one solar, allowing it move closer to meeting California’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires utilities to source 33 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020.

The larger portion of the new contracts, 200 megawatts, will come from the Mount Signal Solar project in Imperial Valley, Calif. The utility signed a 25-year power-purchase agreement with an 8minutenergy renewables subsidiary and AES Solar. The first 100 megawatts of the project is expected to come online in the middle of 2013 with the rest coming online later in the year.

“The Mount Signal project will be carried over the Sunrise Power link that’s [being completed this year],” said SDG&E spokesperson Art Larson.

The remaining 100 megawatts will come through wind. That’s through the 189-megawatt Manzana Wind farm in the Tehachapi region near Rosamond, Calif., according to the company.

“That project is under a 20-year power-purchase agreement.” The Manzana project will be completed this year,” Larson said.

It’s part of a big jump for the company, a Sempra Energy subsidiary, which catapulted from having just 11.9 percent of renewables in its generation portfolio in 2010.

“In 2011, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydroelectric represented more than 20 percent of the power provided to our 1.4 million electric customers,” said James Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E, in a release.

“We signed 17 renewable energy contracts in 2011,” said Larson. “It was a real robust signing program last year, and there’s a lot of renewables coming available now.”

By July of last year, the company had signed 1.2 gigawatts of new renewable energy generation to its portfolio, some of which was online already.

The utility also is a leader in distributed generation.

“Rooftop solar produces more than 125 megawatts of distributed generation that feeds directly into our grid,” Larson said.

In all, it has rooftop solar on more than 16,000 rooftops in its service area. It’s adding in more distributed generation by installing 100 megawatts of PV at existing SDG&E property and purchasing power from small independent producers between 1 megawatt and 5 megawatts in size.