New power plant may mean millions for Palmdale
Expected to produce 600-plus megawatts of electricity
Merdies Hayes | 7/5/2013, midnight
Palmdale spent $18 million in 2007 to buy the land from Lockheed Martin and, if the plan is successful, about three dozen “high paying” jobs will come to Palmdale. “The sale of the power plant will generate millions of dollars that will be invested back in our community,” said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford in a statement last Spring.
“It will also create up to 600 high-paying construction jobs for the project that can take up to 30 months. The plant will infuse up to $5 million annually into our local economy, through the purchase of parts, supplies and items at local restaurants and retailers. Add to that the revenues generated by property and business taxes and it will have a tremendous positive economic impact for the region.”
City staff is moving ahead with the Summit proposal; the company was cited for its broad experience and familiarity with the California market and the fact that its proposal offered the most value to Palmdale. “Summit has worked on similar successful projects in California, across the country, and internationally,” said Palmdale director of Public Works Mike Mischel. “Beyond their experience, they have demonstrated a firm knowledge of an ever-changing market and atmosphere to make the project a success.”
Southern California Edison (SCE) has agreed to two long-term power purchase contracts for the Antelope Valley Solar Projects. Already, SunPower is installing its Oasis Power Plant product—a fully integrated, modular solar technology that is engineered to rapidly deploy utility-scale solar projects while minimizing land use. Solar panels will track the sun throughout the day, increasing energy capture by up to 25 percent. The electricity produced will reportedly displace about 775,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, or the equivalent of removing about 3 million vehicles from the road over the next two decades.
California has established a “renewables” goal of 33 percent by 2020. This will mean installation of many additional wind and solar projects which can be unreliable and expensive. The new Palmdale plant—with a modern “rapid-start” and flexible configuration—will provide a needed buffer against intermittent renewable energy sites, thereby increasing reliability of the SCE grid as well as holding down costs. The plant is said to have undergone the most extensive environmental review in the nation, with the California Energy Commission stating in its decision to permit construction: “The Conditions of Certification also assure that the project will neither result in, nor contribute substantially to, any significant direct, indirect, or cumulative adverse environmental impacts.”
“Instead of taking oil from thousands of miles away, we’re taking the sun,” said Gov. Jerry Brown. His move two years ago to promote clean energy standards statewide may create more “cleantech” jobs, as utilities race to secure contracts with renewable energy power providers. “This is about California leading the country and America potentially leading the world.”
There’s also good news from the Department of Energy which awarded Sun Power and NRG Solar a $1.2 billion conditional loan guarantee for the California Valley Solar Ranch, a 250-megawatt power plant to be built in San Luis Obispo County. The plant is expected to create about 350 jobs and generate enough power for 60,000 homes.