California regulators approve repowering contract

 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a repowering contract with a wind developer that will retire outdated equipment while reducing the number of turbine towers.

enXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company, received approval for the 102-MW Shiloh IV Wind Project’s power purchase agreement. Construction of the project can now begin.

The Shiloh IV Wind Project, located in Solano County, California, is the largest repowering project in the country whereby older technology is upgraded allowing for increased generation of clean energy with fewer wind turbines. Approximately 235 Kenetech 100kW turbines originally installed in 1989 have been removed and will be replaced with 50 REpower 2.05 MW turbines.

Repowering is seen as way to mitigate environmental effects as chances for raptor collisions with wind turbines are lessened with fewer potential hazards in the windy regions of California.

enXco will develop, build, and own the Shiloh IV Wind Project while Pacific Gas and Electric (NYSE: PCG) will purchase the power generated under a 25-year power purchase agreement to supply approximately 40,000 average homes. The project anticipates commercial operations by the end of 2012, and will be operated and maintained by enXco Service Corporation.

“The Shiloh IV project underscores the importance of technical innovation in the wind industry and its continual progress,” stated Mark Tholke, vice president for enXco’s southwest region. “We are pleased to be able to implement today’s state-of-the-art turbine technology to achieve more than four-times greater capacity and nearly ten-times more energy with minimal addition in land resources. Policy support, such as California’s 33% mandate for renewable energy and the federal Production Tax Credit, are critical for a stable wind industry focused on continued technological improvement.”

As part of enXco’s workforce development program, the company will donate two Kenetech 100kW turbines to Rio Vista High School’s Green Jobs Program. The Green Jobs Program was established by enXco and the River Delta Unified School District to prepare students for careers in the green energy industry. Thirty students are currently enrolled, with a second group of students expected for Fall Semester 2012.