Bechtel to build Catalina solar plant in Kern County, Calif.

EnXco, a unit of French energy conglomerate EDF Energies Nouvelles, has awarded construction giant Bechtel the contract for the engineering, procurement, and construction of the Catalina solar photovoltaic (PV) generating project in Kern County in Southern California.

In connection with the PV project, Bechtel will also build 7.2 miles of 230-kV transmission line needed to connect the facility to Southern California Edison’s (SCE) existing Whirlwind substation.

“This large utility-scale project will help meet the growing demand for a mix of renewable energy sources,” Jim Ivany, president of Bechtel’s Renewable Power business group, said in a statement.

Project owner enXco said the facility, its largest utility-scale solar project to be developed in the U.S., will be built on 1,100 acres and constructed in two phases beginning in May, pending final approval from the California Public Utilities Commission. The first 60MW is expected to be online by the end of 2012 and the remaining 70MW to be operational by mid-2013.

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will buy the facility’s power under a 25-year power purchase agreement. 

In addition to the Catalina solar project, which will be located approximately 10 miles southwest of the town of Mohave, Calif., in the Mohave desert, Bechtel is building two other solar facilities in California.

BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah project is a 370MW concentrating solar thermal power facility being constructed at Ivanpah Dry Lake approximately 44 miles south of Las Vegas. The California Valley Solar Ranch is a 250MW PV facility being built in San Luis Obispo, Calif., by SunPower Corp., (NASDAQ: SPWR) and NRG Solar, a subsidiary of NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG).

SCE is a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE:EIX).

SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE).