Weekly Intelligence Brief: November 7 – November 14

This week’s CSP Today news brief includes the following companies and organisations: California Public Utilities Commission, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Mojave Solar, Abengoa Solar; The Solar Energy Industries Association and more...

CPUC gives nod to Abengoa-Mojave Solar project 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved a Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) renewable energy power purchase agreement with Mojave Solar, an affiliate of Abengoa Solar. The contract length is 25 years. 

Mojave Solar is developing a 250MW concentrating solar power parabolic trough renewable energy generation facility in San Bernardino County. In September this year, Abengoa finalised a US$1.2 billion loan guarantee with the US Department of Energy to build the Mojave Solar Project.

The Mojave Solar Project was selected through PG&E’s 2007 Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) solicitation. PG&E initially submitted a power purchase agreement with Mojave Solar on October 27, 2009. 

The two entities renegotiated the power purchase agreement in order to meet the requirements for a Department of Energy Federal Loan Guarantee and to maintain the value of the original power purchase agreement. As per the information available, the contract is more costly than other procurement opportunities available to PG&E, but the CPUC determined that the value of adding the Mojave Solar project to California’s fleet of renewable energy generation capacity warranted approving the project. Further details weren’t shared. 

Mojave Solar had obtained critical project development components (e.g., permit to construct, transmission interconnection agreement and financing commitments), leaving only a Commission approved power purchase agreement as the final milestone in order initiate project construction. 

PG&E states that the project is expected to produce approximately 617 gigawatt-hours of generation annually beginning in July, 2014.


Siting flexibility, access to transmission key to utility-scale solar power

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has stressed that if solar energy in the US is to have a future role in the US energy portfolio, the US must develop its abundant solar resources in the American Southwest, including development of projects on public lands. 

Referring to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) draft supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for solar energy development, the Association mentioned that siting flexibility and access to transmission are key to  financing and developing utility-scale solar power plants. Both aspects must be reflected in the final PEIS. 

Late last month, the Department of the Interior made public a supplement to the federal plan to facilitate responsible utility-scale solar development on public lands in six western states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The revised plan, known as the 'Supplement to the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development (Solar PEIS)', reinforces and improves upon the Interior’s work to establish meaningful solar energy zones with transmission solutions and incentives for solar energy development within those zones. 

The Federal Register Notice of Availability for the Supplement is undergoing a 90-day public comment period, after which BLM will prepare a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision.


Scheidegger to lead Siemens’ Solar & Hydro Division

Theodor Scheidegger has been made CEO of Siemens' Solar & Hydro Division.

Scheidegger was previously CEO of Sovello, an integrated supplier of solar wafers, and solar cells and modules.

In August this year, it emerged that Siemens is to realign its renewables business into two independent units. The existing Renewable Energy Division was divided into two new divisions Wind Power and Solar & Hydro. As of October 1, 2011, Siemens bundled its activities in the fields of solar and hydro power in its new Solar & Hydro Division. 

The new unit is also the center of competence for the development of energy storage technologies. Also, in the new unit Solar & Hydro, the company will be moving forward with research and development in the field of solar power to further increase its competitiveness. 

In the field of solar thermal power, the range of products offered extends from components such as solar receivers and solar fields to complete solar thermal power plants.


Reliance Power’s 100MW CSP project on track 

Power generation company Reliance Power remains committed to fast-track implementation of its renewable energy portfolio. The list includes its 100 MW concentrated solar power project in Rajasthan. 

This CSP project, along with other projects, are to be commissioned in the next 18 months.

Reliance Power, which has the largest portfolio of power projects in the private sector based on coal, gas, hydro and renewable energy in India, shared that its projects under construction are progressing satisfactorily and the company is on track to becoming a 5,000 MW operating company by 2012.

Around same time last year, the company executed a Memorandum of Understanding with Export-Import Bank of United States (Exim Bank). Under the MOU, Exim Bank is to make available up to US$5 billion in support of purchases of U.S. goods and services over the next three years for the group’s various projects including, among others, 900 MW of renewable power generating technology (solar and wind).