At meetings in June, the EBCE board approved a string of new contracts for solar power, wind power, and battery storage that will help EBCE continue the transition to clean energy. Two of the projects are in Alameda County, and will deliver local jobs and economic benefits as well as clean energy.
The awards are the result of competitive solicitations, and are the first of several to be announced over coming months. The contracts were signed at a ceremony on June 24 at Jack London Square in downtown Oakland.
The contracts include:
OAKLAND BATTERIES: The first contract will fund a 20 MW / 80-megawatt-hour (MWh) battery installation that will partly replace an aging, jet fuel-fired power plant located in the heart of Oakland, near Jack London Square. The batteries are a major step in a joint effort by EBCE and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), dubbed the Oakland Clean Energy Initiative (OCEI), which aims to replace the decades-old plant, which was acquired by Vistra in 2018, with clean energy resources.
The storage project will provide EBCE with local resource adequacy (RA) – electricity capacity that is available to serve demand even under stressful system conditions – and is contingent on approval of a transmission-related reliability contract with PG&E. The project is expected to be online by January 2022 and the contract with Vistra Energy covers a 10-year period.
ALAMEDA COUNTY WIND: A new wind project will be built in Altamont Pass, in eastern Alameda County, near Livermore. The 20-year contract with Salka LLC, a San Diego-based company, buys the output of a 57.5 MW wind farm, including energy, RECs, and RA, starting in December 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin this December and will bring well over $250 million of capital investment into Alameda County.
Altamont is the birthplace of the global wind energy industry, with thousands of small turbines built in the 1980s. This project is part of the ongoing effort to replace those many small turbines with a few much larger, much more efficient turbines, thereby increasing energy output and reducing impacts on birds.
TULARE SOLAR: A 56 megawatt (MW) solar system to be built in Tulare County, scheduled to come online by December 2021. Solar Frontier Americas will develop and operate the plant, delivering over 150,000 MWh of energy per year, plus renewable energy credits (RECs) and resource adequacy (RA) under a 15 year contract. Solar Frontier will also contribute to a local investment fund, to be distributed with some EBCE guidance.
FRESNO COUNTY SOLAR+STORAGE: This 20-year contract covers a combined 100 MW solar plus 30 MW storage project located in the city of Tranquility, Fresno County, starting in December 2022. EDP Renewables, the American renewables division of Energias de Portugal, is the developer. This is EBCE’s first Solar+Storage contract, and there are very limited examples of such projects currently in operation. EBCE is partnering closely with EDPR to properly configure the system to optimize the RA value and match our usage.
All projects are committed to using union labor and include funds to be allocated towards community investment.
The four contracts are the result of two solicitations. One was for the Oakland battery project and the other was EBCE’s first long-term (10+year) renewable energy solicitation, issued in June 2018. The solicitation asked for in-state projects with a preference for new construction, including at least 20 MW in Alameda County.
EBCE received over 568 unique offers associated with 75 projects, representing approximately 20,000 megawatts of nameplate capacity.
EBCE plans to announce additional contracts from this solicitation over the coming months. Twenty projects were shortlisted in the process, and additional projects are currently in active negotiations.
The final portfolio is expected to include five to seven projects totaling approximately 500-600 MW in project capacity and up to two million MWhs per year. Storage projects are expected to total between 40-60 MW of capacity with a four-hour duration.