EDF dedicates new wind and solar projects in California

 Wind and solar projects in Kern County, Calif., that share transmission infrastructure and provide a combined 283 MW were dedicated recently.

EDF Renewable Energy, formerly enXco, noted operation of the 140-MW Pacific Wind and 143-MW Catalina Solar projects.

The projects were developed and contracted independently. But their close geographic proximity to one another enabled the projects to share certain infrastructure and thus evolve into one of the largest wind/solar hybrid projects in the United States.

Pacific Wind began operation in August 2012 and the first phase of Catalina Solar will begin operation in December 2012.

EDF owns the projects. San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), a unit of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), has 20-year power purchase agreements for their output.

These new projects bring the total renewable megawatts under long-term agreements with SDG&E to 343 MW.

“Pacific Wind and Catalina Solar are the direct result of California’s renewable energy mandate, as well as the federal production tax credit and the investment tax credit. The PTC for wind, and more recently the ITC for solar, assist renewable resources in leveling the playing field against fossil fuels, which have decades of government incentives behind them,” said Mark Tholke, vice president of EDF Renewable Energy’s Southwest Region. “These tax credits have created a substantial domestic wind industry, tens of thousands of American jobs and millions of dollars in local economic benefits for the communities where renewable energy projects exist.”

EDF Renewable Energy points out that the plants, though independent, could work as a hybrid wind-solar operation with the shared infrastructure. Small-scale plants specifically constructed in this configuration have been built in Iran and proposed in Japan, or have been limited to small distributed power systems.

In the California dedication, EDF Renewable Energy’s workforce development and community investment program was supported with a $30,000 donation to Rosamond High School for the purchase and installation of a solar-powered baseball field scoreboard. This support was in addition to last year’s $160,000 contribution to the Clean Energy Training Program at Kern Community College District.

At Pacific Wind, 92 Repower turbines generate electricity to supply approximately 56,000 homes with renewable energy.

Catalina Solar, representing EDF Renewable Energy’s largest utility scale project to be developed in the U.S., is comprised of 82 MW Solar Frontier and 60 MW First Solar PV modules and is expected to generate electricity for 35,000 homes.

EDF Renewable Services, formerly enXco Service Corp., will provide operations and maintenance services for both projects.