PG&E to Buy and Run a 246 MW Wind Farm

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Utilities got a boost last year, when the new investment tax credits from the federal government were extended to allow public utilities to qualify for the full credit, to help utilities invest in renewable power. Since utilities must get more renewable power onto the grid (in all of the states with Renewable Portfolio Standards), extending the ITC to them, too, is the right means to help them do just that.

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PG&E in California has to get 20% of its renewable power on grid by 2010 to meet the California RPS, and has just announced that it has contracted with Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., the U.S. arm of the world’s largest provider of wind power, to purchase and operate a major wind generating plant, to send clean electrons from Kern County’s Tehachapi region to Northern California PG&E customers.

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Jonathan Marshall of PG&E let me know by email that the 246 MW Manzana project has transmission in place on about 7,000 acres favorable wind resources in the Tehachapi region. If approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, the project could begin producing power by December 2011.

The project would be the third renewable energy project announced in a month for Kern County, a site with abundant resources and transmission lines.

Last month PG&E was awarded R&D funding from the Department of Energy to start on a groundbreaking Smart Grid project; the nation’s second ever compressed-air energy storage (CAES) facility. (previous story)The first post-carbon fossil-fueled plant in the world to provide hydrogen power to run a gas plant, with carbon capture and storage, is also being built in Kern County: Scientific American: Kyoto Accord to Hydrogen-Power California.

The total capital cost of the Manzana project will be just over $900 million, which includes payments to Iberdrola Renewables; the US division of the Spanish wind giant, to develop and build the facility, along with other costs that PG&E will incur. PG&E will make progress payments as significant milestones are met.

The site would produce up to 670 gigawatt-hours per year, and beginning in 2012; PG&E’s 15 million customers will pay an average $0.25 more per month to start paying back the investment in clean renewable zero carbon wind power.

As a PG&E customer myself; I am down with that!

Image: Flikr user Dave Clark

Source: PG&E email


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