- Created on Thursday, 25 October 2012 21:27
- Written by Green Liver
Imperial, California - Elected officials and local leaders Thursday ceremonially installed the first of nearly 2 million solar panels that will make up the first large-scale solar power generating facility in Imperial County, California. The project southwest of El Centro is owned by an affiliate of Omaha, Nebraska-based Tenaska.
Approximately 30 guests joined Tenaska representatives for the panel installation at the project site. Among the attendees were Imperial County supervisors, executives and planners; Imperial Irrigation District officials and staff; and representatives of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the project’s power customer.
As part of the celebration, more than 350 construction workers currently working at the site were treated to an appreciation luncheon.
“We are pleased be able to celebrate this important milestone for the Tenaska Imperial South project with the people who have helped us get here,” said Bob Ramaekers, Tenaska vice president of development. “Local leaders are key to the successful development of any project, especially when we are all pioneering a new industry together. We appreciate their service.”
“I congratulate Tenaska on this milestone in the construction of this large utility-scale solar project and the job creation that it brings to the Valley. The Board of Supervisors is supportive of Tenaska's activities in Imperial County, and we look forward to a long-term relationship with Tenaska," Imperial County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Kelley said.
Tenaska Imperial South is a 130-megawatt (MW), ground-mounted photovoltaic solar power generating facility that will convert sunlight directly into electricity, producing enough clean energy to power approximately 44,000 California homes. The power output will be sold to SDG&E under a 25-year power-purchase agreement. The plant will be among the first projects to transmit renewable energy via SDG&E’s recently completed Sunrise Powerlink electric transmission line.
“The progress and perseverance by Tenaska to move this important project forward is a monumental step forward in fostering the development of renewable resources in the Imperial Valley and also demonstrates SDG&E’s commitment from the beginning to develop new sources of green energy for our customers,” said Jim Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E. “The Tenaska Imperial South project will be one of the first projects in Imperial County to deliver renewable energy across the Sunrise Powerlink, which was put into service this past June, and we look forward to more renewable projects being completed and connected to this transmission line.”
Tenaska Imperial South is the largest solar project under construction to date in Imperial County. Tenaska Solar Ventures, LLC, an affiliate of Tenaska, developed the project, which has already created more than 350 jobs. It is also expected to add millions of dollars in sales and property tax revenue throughout construction and the 25-year life of the project. Commercial operation is expected in the second half of 2013.
As construction employment for the Tenaska Imperial South project ramped up over the past few months, every effort was made to hire qualified local workers. A job fair for construction of the project was held June 29 in Holtville, Calif., with a record of 1,153 local job seekers attending. Of the 350 workers already hired at the South site, 80 percent are from Imperial County.
Tenaska Solar Ventures (TSV) is a nationally recognized developer of solar energy centers. In addition to Imperial Solar South, Tenaska has two other projecst in development in Imperial County. TSV has completed permitting for the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West and recently acquired the Tenaska Silverleaf Solar Energy Center, both near El Centro. Commercial financing and construction for Tenaska Imperial West is expected in early 2013, with commercial operation in 2015. If Tenaska’s three projects are successfully advanced to construction, they would create 250 to 300 jobs each at their various peaks of construction and would help support sustained construction and associated economic activity over a number of years. They would also create 10 to 15 well-paying, permanent operations jobs total for the 25- to 35-year lives of the projects.
About Tenaska Solar Ventures: Tenaska Solar Ventures, LLC, is the solar energy development affiliate of independent energy producer Tenaska has developed approximately 9,000 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity across the United States. Tenaska affiliates currently operate and manage eight power plants totaling more than 6,700 MW that it owns in partnership with other companies. Tenaska is headquartered in Omaha, Neb., with offices in Dallas, Denver, Pittsburgh and Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Tenaska affiliates also market natural gas, electric power and biofuels, with Tenaska’s natural gas marketing affiliate rated as one of the top ten natural gas marketers in North America. Tenaska affiliates are also involved in private equity fund and acquisition management, fuel supply, natural gas exploration, production and transportation systems and electric transmission development. For more information about Tenaska and Tenaska Solar Ventures, visit www.tenaska.com or www.tenaskasolarventures.com.