United States

United States

Southern California wind contracts

Three new wind projects for up to 270 MW are among the successful bidders for Southern California Edison's request for proposals for 427 MW of new renewables. The utility also selected biomass and geothermal projects. The 20 year power purchase agreements call for the new power to be available, at least in part, beginning in 2006 and for the full capacity to be online by 2009.

xSuccessful bidders are the Coram Energy Group, for 12-100 MW of wind at Tehachapi Pass; SeaWest Wind Power, for 37-50 MW at a San Gorgonio site; and Western Wind Energy, to provide 50-120 MW at Tehachapi. The California Public Utilities Commission must give final approval for the contracts.

xWestern Wind, with headquarters in British Columbian, Canada, will add its full 120 MW in 2006, says company president Jeffrey J Ciachurski. Permits are in hand. Ciachurski says the expiration of wind's federal production tax credit is not a concern. "We think they're going to be renewed." Ciachurski declines to release information on the size of the turbines or manufacturer, saying no decision has yet been made.

xCalifornia law requires all utilities to provide 20% of their power from renewables by 2017. State governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers have talked about advancing that date to 2010. California's two other large investor-owned utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electricity, have yet to announce the results of their bidding process (Windpower Monthly, October 2004).

xSouthern California Edison, with 13 million customers, buys more renewable power than any other US utility. In 2004, 18% came from wind, biomass, geothermal, small hydro and solar. "We anticipate no difficulty in reaching the state's objectives," says the utility's Gil Alexander. "Our current portfolio delivers to our customers a total potential -- absent these proposals -- of 2588 MW of renewables, of which 1021 comes from wind generators." The utility will seek more opportunities to extend its renewables portfolio.

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