SCE Signs Largest-Ever U.S. Utility Wind Energy Contract

by | Dec 22, 2006

Southern California Edison has signed a wind energy contract with Alta Windpower Development, a subsidiary of Allco Financial Group of Australia, that’s the largest wind energy contract ever signed by a U.S. utility.  It secures for SCE customers 1,500 megawatts or more of power generated by new projects to be built in the Tehachapi area of California.  The contract, which more than doubles SCE’s wind energy portfolio, anticipates more than 50 square miles of wind parks in the Tehachapi region -? triple the size of any existing U.S. wind farm. 

Oak Creek Energy Systems of Mojave, Calif., is a partner with Allco in the development, construction, and operations of the projects.

Coupled with other renewable energy contracts signed today, and seven signed in November, these agreements bring to 1,889 MW the amount of power resulting from SCE’s 2005 competitive renewable energy solicitation -? the equivalent of two major, traditional power plants and enough generation to serve one million average homes.

SCE also signed a new contract with Chateau Energy to purchase 15 MW of power from a biomass facility in the Mesquite Lake area of Imperial County and signed an amendment to an existing contract with Edom Hill that will allow Edom’s wind project to increase its capacity to 20 MW by repowering, upgrading technology to more efficiently capture additional wind energy.

“I applaud Southern California Edison for this historic wind energy contract,” said Michael R. Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  “This contract will help California move closer to its goal of generating 20 percent or more of our electricity with clean, renewable energy.  Edison’s achievement further highlights the importance of the work state policymakers and utilities are doing to expand the state’s transmission grid so projects such as these can become a reality.”

SCE will submit the procurement contracts to the CPUC, which will decide whether they are reasonable commitments to make on behalf of SCE’s customers.

The success of the large wind project announced today depends on SCE receiving authorization from the CPUC and other regulatory agencies to construct a series of new and upgraded high-voltage transmission lines that would deliver electricity from potential new wind farms in the Tehachapi area.  Several such wind projects are in varying stages of planning and development.  When completed, this renewable transmission project would be capable of delivering 4,500 MW of electricity, enough energy to supply almost three million homes.

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