Sempra does power deals for Copper Mountain Solar 3 project

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power said Dec. 12 that the cities of Los Angeles and Burbank have approved a 20-year agreement to purchase 250 MW of solar power from its proposed Copper Mountain Solar 3 project to be constructed in Boulder City, Nev., approximately 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

The Copper Mountain Solar 3 agreement provides the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) with most of the power produced by the solar power plant – 210 MW – through an agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA). SCPPA is a joint powers authority consisting of 11 municipal utilities and one irrigation district that finances power and transmission resources on behalf of its members. LADWP is one of the members of that authority as is the city of Burbank. Burbank will purchase the remaining 40 MW. 

Power will be delivered from the plant to Southern California through a substation and transmission lines operated by LADWP.

“Copper Mountain Solar 3 is another important step toward reaching our goal of 1,400 megawatts of renewable capacity by 2016,” said Jeffrey Martin, president and CEO of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. “We are pleased to partner with the cities of Los Angeles and Burbank as they assume a leadership role in bringing clean renewable energy to their customers in Southern California.”

“This solar contract with Sempra U.S. Gas & Power is proof positive that environmental progress and economic growth go hand in hand,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “It is high time Los Angeles kicked its addiction to dirty coal energy and I am proud we are setting an example for a successful, cost-efficient transition to renewable energy.”

LADWP recently indicated it is working to exit a stake in the Navajo coal-fired plant in Arizona and is working with other parties to convert the coal-fired Intermountain power plant in Utah to natural gas.

“This will bring Burbank to within as much as 1 percent of its 33-percent renewable energy goal for 2020,” said Fred Fletcher, assistant general manager of power supply for Burbank Water and Power, about the Copper Mountain Solar 3 deal. “It has taken six years to make that elusive goal real.”

Construction on the 1,370-acre Copper Mountain Solar 3 project is expected to begin in January. When completed in late 2015, the project will deliver enough clean electricity to power about 80,000 homes annually. Copper Mountain Solar 3 and its two adjacent Copper Mountain Solar facilities in the Nevada desert will combine to create one of the largest solar power complexes in the Southwest.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power reported Dec. 11 that it completed the first phase of the Copper Mountain Solar 2 facility. The power generated at Copper Mountain Solar 2 is being sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 25-year contract. The power customer is a utility subsidiary of PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG). When completed in 2015, the second-phase of Copper Mountain Solar 2 will produce an additional 58 MW, bringing the total output to 150 MW.

Copper Mountain Solar 3 is the fourth utility-scale renewable energy project that Sempra U.S. Gas & Power has developed in Boulder City. When it is completed, the Boulder City solar projects will have a combined capacity exceeding 450 MW.  Sempra U.S. Gas & Power has an additional 700 MW of solar power under development in Arizona and California. Sempra U.S. Gas & Power is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.