San Diego Gets More Solar Power

San Diego Gas & Electric, working to catch up with California’s rising renewable-energy requirements, has won approval of two power-purchase agreements that will give it a boost. The state’s Public Utilities Commission said yes to the utility’s 20-year deals with Centinela Solar Energy under which it will buy around 297 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy annually from a 140-megawatt (MW) solar power plant.

California’s renewable portfolio standard required that utilities source 20 percent of their power from renewables by the end of 2010. SDG&E was lagging, at just 10.5 percent, according to the most recent state figures available.

Copper Mountain solar, Boulder City, Nevada

image via Sempra Energy

According to the California Center for Sustainable Energy, excess procurements by the utility in previous years allowed it to bank renewable credits for use in 2010 in order to technically comply with state rules. Still, by 2020, the requirement will rise to 33 percent, so the pressure is intense to find more renewable energy.

Sunrise Powerlink map

image via San Diego Gas & Electric

The Centinela photovoltaic solar plant, in the Imperial Valley east of San Diego County, is expected to begin producing power by the end of 2013. The electricity is slated to travel to the populated coastal region of California on a 117-mile high voltage line the utility has been trying to build for several years. The line has been opposed by a variety of factions for a variety of reasons, but it finally broke ground just last month.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.


  • Reply January 18, 2011

    Suzee Solar

    It’s good to know that San Diego is investing in more efficient and cost savings approach for energy alternatives. Thanks for sharing this information.

  • In a region with so much (solar) potential its a real shame the political and private commitment is simply lagging.

  • Reply January 22, 2011

    Edsel Dominado

    The State of California will really benefit for this, and a great hlep for our enviromment . . .

    I am seeking for a help, kindly lead me or guide me to where I can get informtaiton on how to start this project, I would like to initiate to build one for our place, our region, here in our City.

    Thank you and God Bless!

    Mr. Edsel Dominado
    Cabanatuan City, Philippines

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