Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions said it started work on the 250 MW Pisgah Ridge Solar project in Navarro County, Texas, southeast of Dallas. Once in service, it will be the largest utility-scale solar facility in the Duke business unit’s fleet.
Charles River Laboratories International signed a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for 102 MW of capacity from the project over 15 years. The VPPA will address all of the company’s North American electric power load by 2023. Charles River was advised by Schneider Electric, which helped the company in project selection and negotiations.
Two other companies have signed separate 15-year VPPA agreements for the remaining 148 MW of capacity. All three VPPAs will settle on an as-generated basis tied to the project’s real-time energy output.
Project engineering and construction are by Moss, and Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions will own and operate the project. Commercial operation is expected by the end of 2022.
It’s been solar and wind (and not much else)
Solar and wind made up almost 94% of the new electrical generating capacity added in the U.S. during the first four months of 2021, according to a review by the SUN DAY Campaign of data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The data show that 131 units of new utility-scale solar (2,702 MW) and 18 units of new wind (3,802 MW) accounted for most of the capacity. Natural gas provided 402 MW, hydropower added 14 MW, oil provided 6 MW, and biomass 5 MW. All but 1 MW of the new utility-scale capacity reported in April was from solar (147 MW) and wind (659-MW).
Utility-scale renewable energy facilities now account for almost 25% of the total available installed generating capacity. The total does not include distributed rooftop solar.
CPA adds more solar and storage
Directors of California-based Clean Power Alliance (CPA) approved four contracts for 256.5 MW of renewable energy and 163 MW of storage. The contracts include one geothermal facility and three solar plus storage facilities.
A 15-year contract with Clearway’s Arica solar plus storage project will add 93.5 MW of solar plus 71 MW of storage. CPA will begin receiving power in December 2023, with an expected average annual generation of 284,054 MWh.
The Clearway Daggett 2 solar plus storage project is an extension of a solar plus storage project already under contract with CPA. The 15-year Daggett 2 contract adds 65 MW of solar plus 52 MW of storage. CPA will begin receiving power in September 2023, with an expected average annual generation of 202,432 MWh.
A third contract is with NextEra Energy Resources’ Resurgence Solar I project, located in San Bernardino County, for a 20-year term. The project adds 48 MW of solar plus 40 MW of storage with an expected average annual generation of 144,161 MWh. The Resurgence Solar Project repurposes an aging solar thermal facility. The project is scheduled to begin operations in March 2023.
The fourth contract is with Calpine’s The Geysers geothermal facility, which will add 50 MW of energy and generate 438,000 MWh of energy per year. Under the 15-year contract, the project will begin delivering January 2022. Located north of San Francisco on the border of Sonoma and Lake counties, The Geysers ranks as one of the single largest geothermal electrical operations in the world.
To date, CPA has signed 19 long-term contracts with renewable and storage resources for terms of 10-20 years, totaling 1,601 MW of renewables and 878 MW of storage. Founded in 2017, CPA provides electricity for 30 cities across Los Angeles County and Ventura County, as well as the unincorporated areas of both counties. CPA is the fifth largest electricity provider in California.
DSD buys an oilfield solar project
Distributed Solar Development (DSD) acquired a 2.176 MW PV solar project at the Lost Hills Oilfield in Kern County, California, from Alternative Energy Development Group, which co-developed the project with Regatta Solutions. The single-axis ground mount system is estimated to produce over 4,917 MWh of energy per year for the oil field operation. Under terms of the deal, Lost Hills Thermal, LLC will buy energy from DSD, which will be the owner/operator of the system, via a 20-year PPA. Lost Hills Thermal is a privately owned special purpose vehicle managed by Crimson Resources Management Corp., the contracted operator at Lost Hills.
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