Pattern Energy has signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Shell Energy North America and the University of California regents for a portion of the power generated from its SunZia Wind project.
The project, which is expected to commence later this year and be operational by 2026, aims to provide clean and renewable energy to western energy markets. The partnership represents a crucial step in expanding renewable energy capacity and reducing carbon emissions in the region, according to the companies.
Pattern Energy’s collaboration with Shell Energy and the University of California regents will foster the delivery of renewable wind power from New Mexico, where the renewable energy potential is significant. The SunZia Wind project is set to become one of the largest wind projects in the Western Hemisphere, according to the partnership. The project’s generation profile, with an evening peak energy generation that complements daytime solar power, enhances the reliability and stability of the grid. Pattern Energy’s goal is to harness the potential of New Mexico’s wind resources to provide clean power to millions of Americans.
The SunZia Wind project is closely tied to the SunZia Transmission project, a 550-mile high-voltage direct current transmission line that connects central New Mexico to south-central Arizona. SunZia Transmission has the capacity to transport 3 gigawatts of renewable energy. This alignment ensures a steady supply of wind power to customers in Arizona and California during peak demand hours when renewable energy supply is traditionally low.
The University of California has been a pioneer in embracing renewable energy sources, and David Phillips, associate vice president of capital programs, energy, and sustainability at UC, expressed the institution’s enthusiasm for being part of this renewable project. UC’s involvement in the SunZia Wind project further bolsters its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and enhancing the resilience of the California grid, according to the university, and by diversifying its renewable energy portfolio to include wind power the university is adding to its sustainability initiatives.
SunZia Transmission: Enabling Wind Energy Market Access
Pattern Energy and SunZia prioritize community engagement and environmental stewardship throughout their projects. SunZia has engaged with local, regional, and national conservation stakeholders, committing to environmental mitigation efforts in collaboration with the environmental community. These efforts include wildlife habitat restoration, investment in emerging technology, and long-term conservation research. SunZia Wind has implemented various environmental strategies to minimize project impacts and develop effective habitat restoration plans in partnership with local and state experts.
According to an independent study conducted by Energy, Economic & Environment Consultants, the SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects are projected to generate a total economic benefit of $20.5 billion. This includes more than $8 billion in direct capital investment, with no additional costs to ratepayers. The projects are expected to deliver significant fiscal impacts, estimated at $1.3 billion, benefiting governments, communities, and schools. These impacts will be realized through sales and use taxes, property taxes, community benefit payments, and land payments to federal and state agencies. This highlights the positive economic and environmental contributions of renewable energy projects like SunZia can provide a region.