Solar supplies just 50 MW of SCE's 2.2 GW of new energy


The press release trumpeting Southern Californian utility SCE‘s green power credentials, in its latest 2.2 GW of power generation deals, illustrates just how far solar, and other renewables, have to go to catch up with fossil fuel generation in the States.

An announcement on Southern California Edison’s website revealed solar’s contribution to the total 2,221 MW of new generation procured by Southern California’s biggest electric power provider as it attempts to make up the shortfall from being forced to close its San Onofre nuclear plant in June 2013.

With Edison International’s largest subsidiary anticipating the future closer of its older natural gas-fired generating assets, the utility announced 2.2 GW worth of new generation from a mix of types of provider, including solar.

But a glance down the list of providers indicates solar will contribute just 50 MW of new generation, thanks to four PPAs signed with SunPower worth 44 MW in the West LA basin area and another two contracts with the solar power company – adding another 6 MW of capacity – in Moorpark.

That figure contrasts with 1,698 MW of generation from new natural gas plants, including two deals signed with AES for 1,284 MW in West LA.

Gas dwarfs solar generation

The pointedly-named Stanton Energy Reliability Center in the same area will supply 98 MW of gas-fired electricity and NRG Energy, another U.S. company that trumpets its renewables commitments, will supply 316 MW of gas power under two deals signed in Moorpark.

The PennEnergy website carried a positive reaction from the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) when the news was announced on Wednesday, relating to the fact SCE signed off on 261.1 MW of battery storage contracts as part of the 2.2 GW deals, more than five times the utility’s mandated 50 MW commitment to energy storage power generation.

In West LA, AES will provide 100 MW of front-of-meter battery storage with Advanced Microgrid Solutions (50 MW) and Stem (85 MW) chipping in with behind-the-meter capacity.

NRG Energy will provide 500 kW of battery storage in Moorpark and there is a further 25.6 MW of thermal energy storage supplied by Ice Energy Holdings in West LA with the CESA citing the figures as proof energy storage can compete with rival power generation sources.