California military bases start sipping Arizona solar in largest government renewables deal
The U.S. government has gone live with one of its largest ever renewable energy purchases.
Sempra Energy’s 150-MW Mesquite 3 solar farm in Tonopah, Ariz., began selling electricity to U.S. Navy and Marine bases in California on Friday under a 25-year power purchase agreement between the Department of the Navy and Sempra, the Western Area Power Administration and Shell Energy.
- The energy from the solar farm will supply about one-third of the electricity needs of 14 naval installations in California, including San Diego’s naval base and the Marines’ Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton installations.
The Mesquite solar power purchases fit into a much larger program under which the Navy and the Marine Corps want to obtain 50% of their energy needs, both ashore and afloat, from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020.
The services hit the 50% mark for shore-based facilities last year, five years ahead of schedule.
In October, the California Energy Commission and the Navy signed a memorandum of understanding that includes plans to develop three battery and solar projects,
The first, 150 MW phase of Sempra’s Mesquite solar farm sells power under a 20-year PPA with Pacific Gas & Electric. The second, 100 MW phase of the Mesquite project is due to be completed by year-end 2016 and sells power to Southern California Edison under a 20-year PPA.
Sempra is looking at expanding solar power production at the Mesquite site and is seeking an amendment of the Special Use Permit to add a 1,280-acre expansion area to the site.
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