Bioenergy, Project Development, Solar, Utility Scale, Wind Power

TEP Signs 160-MW of Renewables PPAs

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has agreed to purchase the output of 10 new solar power systems, a landfill gas generation project and a new wind farm that together will have an installed capacity of close to 160 megawatts (MW).

TEP has submitted the agreements to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) for review. The commission’s endorsement would allow developers of the systems to proceed with efforts to finalize financing, secure land rights and clear other necessary hurdles in hopes of completing their projects in time to begin providing power in 2011 or 2012.

“These agreements are the next step in our development of local utility-scale renewable power projects that will help us achieve our renewable energy goals,” said Paul Bonavia, Chairman, President and CEO of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corporation. “We’re looking forward to including these resources in TEP’s growing green power portfolio.”

Solar projects with a combined capacity of 107 MW would be developed in the Tucson area under the contracts, including three solar photovoltaic arrays built with fixed, stationary panels with capacities of 35 MW, 25 MW and 5 MW respectively. The contracts also include four PV arrays with tracking capability including one rated at 12 MW, another at 4 MW and two sized at 5 MW apiece. Three concentrating solar power (CSP) systems were also parts of the deals. One of these systems would be capable of generating 12 MW, while two others would produce up to 2 MW each.

TEP also has agreed to purchase energy from a new biogas generator that would be built at Pima County’s Tangerine Landfill. The project would have a rated capacity of 2.2 MW, which would be produced from methane gas. Finally, TEP has agreed to purchase the output of a 50-MW wind farm that would be developed near the utility’s existing high-efficiency natural gas Luna Energy Generating Station in New Mexico. The power would be delivered to Tucson through an existing transmission line already used by TEP.

“These projects would provide our customers with clean, reasonably-priced power from a wide variety of zero-water renewable energy technologies,” said David Hutchens, Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Resource Planning for TEP and UniSource Energy.

The proposed systems would complement two new solar power systems already planned to be built in the Tucson area by January 2012. Fotowatio Renewable Ventures is building a 25-MW single-axis tracking PV array near Marana, while Bell Independent Power Corp. (BIPC) is building a 5-MW concentrating solar power plant at the University of Arizona’s Science and Technology Park.

All of the projects are in the planning stages, and some of them may not be built if the developers are unable to arrange financing or clear other necessary hurdles.