Utah PSC okays latest Scatec solar power deal with PacifiCorp

The Utah Public Service Commission on Dec. 2 approved an Aug. 27 application from PacifiCorp d/b/a Rocky Mountain Power for a power purchase agreement (PPA) between PacifiCorp and Three Peaks Power LLC.

The PPA provides that Three Peaks will sell electric energy to PacifiCorp from Three Peak’s solar generation project in Iron County, Utah, for 20 years. Three Peaks represents in the PPA that it is a qualifying facility (QF) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA).

PacifiCorp represented in its reply comments in this case and at hearing that PacifiCorp and Three Peaks reached agreement on the PPA’s material terms within six months of the date PacifiCorp provided indicative pricing. PacifiCorp emphasized that the commission adopted the revised, newer version of Schedule 38 for QF projects at the approximate time that negotiations between the parties were concluding. Adding to the complexity, PacifiCorp saoid that during the negotiation period it was processing 107 QF pricing requests and negotiations, five to ten times its typical workload.

Three Peaks contended that PacifiCorp was responsible for the delay in contract execution. Three Peaks cited one FERC order and suggested a legally enforceable obligation (LEO) existed at the end of May that precluded a downward adjustment in pricing even though the parties failed to execute a written contract within six months.

Said the Dec. 2 PSC order: “Based on our review of the Application, the PPA, the comments filed in this docket, the testimony provided at the hearing, and hearing no opposition to the Application, we find extenuating circumstances warrant an extension of the six-month deadline for contract execution and further find the prices, terms and conditions of the PPA to be consistent with applicable state and federal laws, relevant Commission orders, and Schedule 38. Therefore, we conclude the PPA is just and reasonable and in the public interest.”

This solar facility will be located on 650 acres near Cedar City in Iron County, Utah. The agreement is for a term of 20 years from the Commercial Operation Date of the project. A heavily redacted copy of the PPA attached to the Aug. 27 application blanks out key project specs, like project size and output. But, a project diagram buried in the PPA indicates that the size is 104.5 MW (dc)/80 MW (ac), and that the project would be made up of 342,720 photovoltaic modules.

Scatec commissions initial Red Hills solar project

Scatec Solar ASA (SSO) announced Dec. 11 that it has formally commissioned a 104 MW (dc) photovoltaic solar plant in Parowan, Utah. The Utah Red Hills Renewable Park (URHRP) is Utah’s first utility-scale solar plant and will more than double the state’s current solar footprint. The plant was commissioned on schedule and constructed in less than a year. It will generate around 210 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, to be fed into the grid under a twenty-year PPA with PacifiCorp’.

“We want to thank Scatec Solar because this experience has helped Rocky Mountain Power learn what works to help other solar projects that will be starting up soon here in Utah,” said Paul Clements, Rocky Mountain Power Director of Commercial Services. “This project is part of Rocky Mountain Power’s commitment to be good guardians of our environment and wise stewards who work to keep electricity prices at some of the lowest rates in the nation.”

“The commissioning of the Utah plant is a significant landmark for Scatec Solar. The fact that we were able to build this 104 MW plant within 12 months is the proof of our company’s capability to deploy solar power rapidly. The Utah plant also underlines the importance of delivering results and choosing partners whose core values match our own – in this case, Swinerton, Google and Prudential Capital Group. That our company is able to realize solar plants simultaneously in different continents is a tremendous tribute to our tireless and dedicated team” says Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar ASA.

In 2008, Utah enacted the Energy Resource and Carbon Emission Reduction Initiative, setting a renewable portfolio goal of 20% by 2025, requiring utilities to pursue renewable energy to the extent that it is cost-effective to do so. With the Red Hills project, Utah is the first state to build a solar plant greater than 80 MW (ac) without a more aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard, said Scatec.

Scatec noted that its team is currently developing a second 80-MW (ac) photovoltaic plant in Utah, which is the Three Peaks project.

“We are very proud of our role in advancing solar energy in Utah-a state with such excellent solar potential,” said Luigi Resta, CEO, Scatec Solar North America. “Utah Red Hills Renewable Park – the state’s first utility-scale solar plant – and other projects in our pipeline represent a huge step forward in bringing the sun’s clean, sustainable energy to more Utahns.”

Scatec Solar engaged Swinerton Renewable Energy to lead Engineering, Procurement and Construction of the ground-mounted Red Hills facility. The plant was built on approximately 632 acres of privately-owned land in Parowan, Utah, deployed more than 340,000 PV solar modules on a single-axis tracking system.

Scatec Solar is an integrated independent solar power producer, delivering affordable, rapidly deployable and sustainable source of clean energy worldwide. Scatec Solar develops, builds, owns, operates and maintains solar power plants, and already has an installation track record of close to 600 MW.

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.