Skip to comments.ENERGY: SoCal Edison signs large solar-power deal
Posted on 02/13/2009 12:21:34 PM PST by calcowgirl
Southern California Edison said it has wrapped up the world's largest-ever agreement to buy electricity generated by solar power, a series of generators in California's eastern deserts that could eventually supply more than 800,000 homes.
The utility, which serves Riverside County and the sprawling southern California territory outside of the city of Los Angeles and San Diego County, hopes the first of seven plants will begin operating in 2013, the company said in a press release Wednesday morning. The Rosemead-based utility counts nearly 5 million customers in Riverside and a half-dozen other California counties.
BrightSource Energy Inc. of Oakland would build and operate the plants. The first plant, in the Mojave desert near the Nevada state line, could supply 100 megawatts of electricity, enough for 65,000 homes, according to Edison. Larger plants to follow would be able to supply a total of 1.2 gigawatts, Edison said.
The contracts require the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission.
A 2006 state law mandates that electric utilities obtain 20 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable sources by 2010. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently set a goal of 33 percent by 2020.
Less than 12 percent of the electricity used in the state now comes from renewable sources, according to the California Energy Commission. Another 11.7 percent comes from large hydroelectric plants, which don't count as renewable sources under state guidelines.
Edison's renewable ratio was 15.7 percent in 2007, compared with 11.4 percent for Pacific Gas & Electric in Northern California and 5.2 percent for San Diego Gas & Electric, according to the energy commission. Edison said solar power accounted for less than 1 percent of its total power that year.
Edison and BrightSource provided little detail on how they hope to transmit the electricity from the first site, on federally owned land 70 miles south of Las Vegas. Edison representatives said the utility might upgrade existing transmission lines for use beginning in 2013; new, higher-capacity lines might follow in 2016 or 2017, they said.
"The question is, 'how big is the pipe and where will it be located?'" said Stuart Hemphill, Edison's vice president for renewable and alternative power.
BrightSource officials haven't specified where the other six plants might be built. Hemphill said he expected all to be in or near San Bernardino County, where most of the state's solar electricity was produced in 2007.
BrightSource calls its design the "Power Tower." The company's Web site describes it as a circular field of mirrors covering several acres, which would reflect sunlight onto a water tank mounted atop a tower.
The focused sunlight would heat water into steam. That steam, in turn, would drive the turbines whose spinning creates alternating-current electricity.
Gas-fired plants typically use steam and turbines on the same basic principle. A BrightSource spokesman said the company may add small gas-fired generators at the sites for use at night and during heavy cloud cover.
I suspect that if areas outside LA and San Deigo get this additional power, then that would probably free up other power for the LA and San Diego areas.
RFK jr and Tamminen are on their way to raking in the big bucks as a result of Arnie’s “green” mandates.
These folks make me sick.
CA: Startup with link to governor pushes for plant OK (BrightSource)
See the link above:
“The Associated Press reported earlier this month that a Schwarzenegger relative, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and his former environmental secretary, Terry Tamminen, are part of a private investment group that could score a lucrative payoff if regulators approve the BrightSource complex.”
How come they never tell us how much it is actually going to cost to set up and run these “miracle energy supply plants”? I would bet my bottom dollar it won’t be cost effective - that is, unless they charge the consumer an arm and a leg for their “product”.
Well, first you get the land free — loaned from the BLM. Then you have federal and state government invest in “infrastructure” on your behalf. Perhaps call it “stimulus” or “investment” and say that it “creates jobs.”
See? It’s easy if you have the right people controlling the law and a big purse of taxpayer dollars.
is this the one where the Enviroweenies won’t let them build the transmission lines needed to actually bring the electricity into San Diego and LA where it is needed?
But at a huge cost. In Canada, Ontario Power Generation signed a contract with a solar plant where they pay seven times the retail rate for 20 years- I suspect that the pricing of this deal is similar.
I don’t remember that related to this SCE arrangement.
I seem to remember something like that published about a San Diego Gas & Electric’s “Sunrise Powerlink” project.
I think Brightsource has also been trying to strike deals with SDG&E, though, so it all may be the same thing.
Hope the endangered desert tortoises enjoy the shade below those mirrors!
If so, I would oppose the deal.
As I understand it, the profitability of these plants is very suspect. That confounds me, but if it’s true, not a dime should be wasted on them.
LMAO What is the cost of the subsidized Electric $26.00 a Kilowatt??
I wonder if this is connected to Harry Reid's $8 billion hi-speed-rail project included in the stimulus bill. It apparently provides for laying tracks from So Cal to the Las Vegas area. Prior articles said the hi-rail proposal follows the lines of I-15 which lines up with where this Brightsource project is reported to be located. If the government gets an easement for all the land to lay tracks, presumably they could run power lines along with it, or assign that right to a Brightsource type entity.
Just thinkin' out loud.
I'm not versed in the costs of various alternatives so I didn't understand your post.
$2 billion for California. Wish I could figure out a way to get a piece.
All these miracle electric sources are heavily subsidized Photovoltaic is in the Mid 20's if memory serves and coal is the cheapest.
What I find interesting about this so called Green Energy facility is what is the efficiency of the plant itself, I mean I dont think moonlight is strong enough to boil water so, I assume this plant is shutdown at night. If the plant is down at night then where will the power come from?
It will be funny when the environmentalist start going at each other over these plants destroying some environmental habitat.
If it works, use it. What the hell.
It's a closed loop system. No significant loss to the outside atmosphere.
No wonder the Austrian needs higher taxes. Only way to honor family commitments...
There's yer answer, Willie! Right there in the last line of the exposed artickle!! Wait till the EnvironMentalistas git aholt of THAT!!!
A non-renewable, non-sustainable resourse being built in as a "back-up!" Scandalous!! And think of the robbery of radiation from the wildlife and the watershed, to say nothing of the desacration of the viewshed from I-15!!!
That sounds similar to the Solar plant at Dagget..just east of Barstow and near the Marine facility.
Doesn't show the tower holding the mechanism which the mirrors focus on,.
If Solar is so terrific, how come they closed the Dagget operation?
(I’d never heard of it before, but is the last one shown on your “solar projects” link)
They closed it cause they ran out of subsidy money ....still need that of course.