ConEd partners with Sempra on two solar projects

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power LLC and Consolidated Edison Development (ConEdison Development) will partner in two of Sempra’s solar power facilities, the 150-MW Copper Mountain Solar 2 plant near Las Vegas and the 150-MW Mesquite Solar 1 power plant near Phoenix.

Under the sales agreement, each company will own a 50% interest in the two solar facilities, which are among the largest photovoltaic plants in the U.S.  Sempra U.S. Gas & Power will continue to provide operations and maintenance services to both plants.

Earlier this year the same Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) unit completed the sale of one 625-MW block of its 1,250-MW Mesquite Power natural gas-fired plant in Arizona to the Salt River Project

“This strategic partnership bolsters Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s ongoing plan to improve its financial returns, deconsolidate debt and redeploy the proceeds from the transaction into new renewable growth projects,” said Kevin Sagara, vice president of renewables and corporate development for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, in a May 21 statement. “We look forward to partnering with Consolidated Edison Development to continue operating world-class solar facilities that supply clean, emission-free electricity to our customers, and to capitalize on our shared view of near-term growth opportunities.”

“This transaction provides ConEdison Development with the opportunity to work with an outstanding partner while we expand our presence throughout the United States,” said Mark Noyes, vice president of ConEdison Development.  “We are partnering in two strategic renewable assets, both with strong project fundamentals, and advancing our commitment to growth in the renewable energy marketplace.”

Construction on Mesquite Solar 1, located in Arlington, Ariz., began in 2011. Power from the facility has been sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year contract.

Phase 1 of Copper Mountain Solar 2 is complete and is currently generating 92 MW. When the second phase is fully constructed, expected in 2015, the project’s total operating capacity will be 150 MW. Power from the facility has been sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 25-year contract.

In September 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office awarded Mesquite Solar 1 a $337m loan guarantee that enabled it to build this innovative photovoltaic plant, one of the largest in the U.S. The agreement is subject to approvals from the U.S. Department of Energy and regulatory agencies. Those approvals are anticipated in the second half of 2013.

The terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Launched in 1997, ConEdison Development focuses on the development, ownership and operation of renewable and energy infrastructure projects. The company typically focuses on projects in the early or middle stages of development. Through acquisitions and development, ConEdison Development has owned, operated and marketed over 2,000 MW of electric generating facilities. It is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED), one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power is a leading developer of renewable energy and natural gas solutions. The company operates solar, wind and natural gas power plants that generate enough electricity for nearly 1 million homes, along with natural gas storage, pipelines and distribution utilities. It is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2012 revenues of approximately $10bn.

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.