Swinerton lands contract for 104 MW Red Hills solar plant in Utah

Scatec Solar has selected Swinerton Renewable Energy to construct and develop its 104 MW Utah Red Hills solar PV plant in Utah, U.S. later this year.

Scatec Solar holds the long-term ownership of the project, and the Norwegian company had been seeking an EPC to conduct the plant’s development and O&M. Last week the company selected Swinerton for the project, which will generate some 201 kWh of solar power each year, generating enough clean energy for 18,500 local households.

Swinerton confirmed that it will also provide all real-time data monitoring, plant control and asset performance optimization for the plant, working in collaboration with the Solar Operations Live View (SOLV) platform for O&M services.

"The Utah Red Hills Renewable Park will provide the residents of Utah access to the superb solar power potential available in their state," said Scatec Solar North America MD Luigi Resta. "After several years of developing this project, Scatec Solar is proud to partner with Swinerton Renewable Energy to build the first utility-scale PV project in Utah."

Scatec Solar also confirmed that the facility has sold a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with PacifiCorp’s Rocky Mountain Power. Part of the financing for the $157 million plant has come from Google.

Idaho cuts RE PPA contract length

Meanwhile in Idaho, the state’s Public Utilities Commission has reduced the length of federally mandated power contracts for solar and wind energy projects, reducing them from 20 years to just five years.

The decision was approved by commissioners last week and will stand until a further decision is made on whether to reduce the contract length further, down to two years, as requested by Idaho Power.

The state utility for Idaho has disputed the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which requires power companies to buy a percentage of electricity at state commission-approved rates from alternative sources. This federal law allows individual states to set the terms of the contract, including the length at which PPAs are signed.

Idaho Power has argued that customers are being forced to pay more because of the required renewable energy share, adding that renewable companies in the state were overloading the grid with more renewable energy than is required.

According to Idaho Power’s arguments, the PURPA act has beckoned 461 MW of solar PV to the grid, with a further 885 MW awaiting sales agreements.