Project Development, Utility Scale, Wind Power

Terra-Gen Breaks Ground On New Tehachapi Wind Project in California

Terra-Gen Power, LLC, began construction on the first phase of a major new wind installation in the venerable and potent Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in California’s Mojave Desert.

Preparations for the 100 GE 1.5-megawatt turbines began in the Alta-Oak Creek Mojave wind project March 1. The first phase will result in 150 megawatts of emissions-free energy. The entire project, to be built on privately owned land, will see the building of 320 turbines with an 800-megawatt capacity.

It will be about 50% of the fulfillment of the power purchase agreement (PPA) between Terra-Gen and California mega-utility Southern California Edison (SCE) in which Terra-Gen contracted to supply SCE with 1550 megawatts of wind power-generated electricity.

SCE will use Windhub, its new Tehacapi substation immediately adjacent to where the project is being installed, to relay the electricity from the Alta-Oak Creek Mojave wind project along newly completed SCE transmission system lines to SCE customers in Los Angeles, about 100 miles to the southwest.

The Windhub substation and new lines are part of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) SCE has been developing along with a constellation of public and private stakeholders in Kern County’s Tehachapi Valley and adjacent areas since the 2003-to-2006 period, in anticipation of capturing the rich wind and solar resources of the region.

The Alta-Oak Creek Mojave wind project is expected to create a large number of construction jobs as well as 50 permanent jobs. It is likely the construction jobs will lead to further work as Terra-Gen moves toward doubling the current planned capacity of Alta-Oak Creek Mojave on its way to meeting the terms of its PPA with SCE.

The Tehachapi Wind Resource Area has been a major wind power generating region since the early 1980s when a visionary group of California New Energy pioneers began building utility-scale wind projects in the Altamont Pass near San Francisco, the San Gorgonio Pass near Palm Springs and the Tehachapi Mountains.

Tehachapi was identified in 2009’s Phase 1 report from the Western Governors Association (WGA) Western Renewable Energy Zone (WREZ) Initiative as one of the West’s richest and ripest of Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) with minimal economic or environmental obstacles to development.

Several other wind projects and wind installation expansions are planned, as well as hundreds of megawatts of solar power plant projects, as the SCE TRTP high capacity transmission lines advance toward their final 4,500 megawatt carrying capacity.