Erlangen, Germany [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] A California-based subsidiary of Solar Millennium AG has signed a 20-year power purchase agreements with U.S. investor-owned utility Southern California Edison (SCE) for the development of two, 242-megawatt (MW) power plants, with the option to expand to include a third 242 MW plant, for a total of 726 MW of solar thermal power.
The agreements, which are subject to approval of the California Public Utilities Commission, provide for the purchase of the output by SCE over 20 years. All three parabolic trough solar power projects, for which the investment is estimated to be over US $1 billion each, are expected to begin operation between 2013 and 2014.
Solar Millennium AG and MAN Ferrostaal Inc. will be involved in the construction of the plants, planned to begin by the end of 2010, after regulatory approval and other conditions for construction have been fulfilled. The projects will interconnect to transmission lines close to the site locations near Ridgecrest, Desert Center, and Blythe, California, the company says.
In addition to creating approximately 800 construction jobs, each plant will employ nearly 100 permanent operations, maintenance and management employees.
“These are excellent sites for solar thermal power projects in California because of the strong and abundant sun,” said Josef Eichhammer, CEO of Solar Millennium, LLC, the Company’s development arm in the United States, “and they are close to large metropolitan areas where there is high energy demand. The annual Direct Normal Irradiation in these areas is almost 2800 kWh per square metre, more than 30% higher than in southern Spain. The projects will help California meet its renewable energy goals, while stimulating California’s economy at the same time.”