Tenaska says 150-MW Imperial solar project is operational

The 150-MW Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West, a new solar plant in Southern California capable of powering 55,000 homes, is fully operational, Tenaska said Sept. 20.

The project supplies power under a 25-year agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which is a Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) utility.

Tenaska Imperial West is Omaha, Nebraska-based Tenaska’s second large-scale solar project to achieve commercial operation.

“SDG&E has aggressively pursued clean, reliable and affordable energy for its consumers. We are proud that Tenaska projects will be significant contributors to its renewable energy supply for years to come,” said Tenaska Vice Chairman and CEO Jerry Crouse. “Similar to other Tenaska facilities, Tenaska Imperial West was developed, engineered and constructed safely, in an environmentally responsible manner, on time and within budget.”

Construction of Tenaska Imperial West began in November 2014 and was managed by contractor First Solar, which will also serve as the long-term plant operator. Located in southwest Imperial County, the project consists of 1.8 million First Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

In 2011, the 130-MW Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South became the first large-scale solar project to begin construction in California’s Imperial Valley and the first to connect to SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink.

The Sunrise Powerlink is a 117-mile transmission line to carry renewable energy from the Imperial Valley to San Diego.

Sunrise Powerlink was built to facilitate renewable energy development in the area. Tenaska Imperial South began commercial operation in 2013.

Together, the plants hired more than 1,300 construction workers, more than 70% of whom were from Imperial County. Together the facilities can supply enough energy for approximately 100,000 California homes.

“Powering homes and businesses with universal solar is good for our customers and our state,” said Emily Shults, SDG&E vice president of energy procurement.

“Sunrise Powerlink is the foundation for giving all of our customers’ access to renewable energy. We look forward to all of the innovations on the horizon that will unlock clean, safe and affordable energy choices for our customers.” Shults said.

Tenaska continues to explore opportunities for renewables development, including solar and wind, as well as other power generation technologies, the company said in a news release. Tenaska is one of the largest private, independent energy companies in the United States.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.