PG+E Receives Approval to Generate 585.5 MW of Clean Electricity

Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced today that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved four new renewable energy power purchase agreements. The four renewable projects – three utility-scale solar and one geothermal – will generate 585.5 megawatts (MW) of renewable, clean electricity for PG&E’s customers in northern and central California.

“As we look toward a carbon constrained future, we recognize the need to utilize a variety of renewable energy sources to meet our climate goals,” said Fong Wan, vice president of energy procurement at PG&E. “We’re thrilled the CPUC has approved these renewable contracts and look forward to partnering with them as we continue to deliver more clean energy to our customers.”

Among the four new contracts, PG&E announced a landmark solar thermal project with Solel-MSP-1. The Mojave Solar Park, to be constructed in California’s Mojave Desert will deliver 553 MW of solar power, the equivalent of powering 400,000 homes. The plant utilizes Solel’s patented and commercially-proven solar thermal parabolic trough technology. When fully operational in 2011, the Mojave Solar Park plant will cover up to 6,000 acres, or nine square miles in the Mojave Desert. The project will rely on 1.2 million mirrors and 317 miles of vacuum tubing to capture the desert sun’s heat.

PG&E also announced two utility-scale photovoltaic solar power projects with Cleantech America LLC and GreenVolts, Inc. The projects will deliver up to 7 MW of renewable energy and will be completed in 2009. Both projects utilize photovoltaic technologies to collect sunlight and convert it directly to electricity. The solar power plants will be located in close proximity to PG&E’s infrastructure and customer base to reduce transmission costs.

The fourth approved contract is with Western GeoPower, Inc. for 25.5 MW of renewable geothermal energy from The Geysers Geothermal Field in Northern California. Located 75 miles north of San Francisco, California, The Geysers Geothermal Field is the largest producer of geothermal electricity in the world. Commercial geothermal power has been generated continuously at The Geysers Field since 1960.

On average, PG&E currently supplies over 50% of its customer load with carbon-free energy sources and about 12 percent from qualifying renewable sources under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program. PG&E continues to aggressively add renewable electric power to its supply and is on target to exceed 20 percent under contract or delivered by 2010. PG&E recently signed agreements with producers of 2 MW of wave energy, 177 MW of solar thermal power and 150 MW of wind power and is seeking regulatory approval of these purchasing agreements.

California’s RPS Program requires each utility to increase its procurement of eligible renewable generating resources by one percent of load per year to achieve a 20 percent renewables goal by 2010. The RPS Program was passed by the Legislature and is managed by California’s Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission.

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