Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
Sempra To Increase Alternative Energy Generation in Kern County
Onell Soto revealed that Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, has obtained local but not state permission to construct a 200 megawatt solar farm in Kern County.
There is no word if San Diego Gas and Electric Company customers will be the beneficiaries of this new alternative energy source.
Although both SDG&E and Sempra Generation are part of the same parent Sempra Energy, there seems to be no overall corporate policy to use Sempra Energy assets for meeting current California public utility mandates that SDG&E provides at least twenty percent of sold power from alternative energy sources in 2010. Sempra Energy earlier this year did announce that it would concentrate more on its core utilities as Sempra sold off assets from its RBS Sempra Commodities venture with Royal Bank of Scotland. The commodities venture asset sale took place as the price of gold rose to historic heights this year, and Sempra has dedicated a significant portion of the venture asset sale profits to a program of stock buybacks.
SDG&E has been reported to be in last place among the three major California investor owned power utilities regarding the mandated alternative energy standard. It is doubtful that SDG&E will meet the 2010 standard, but investors can breath a sigh of relief as there are no punitive sanctions in the law for failing to meet this year's alternative energy utility standard.
Until a major electrical power utility buyer has been located and California's Public Utilities Commission permits the construction to begin, no work will be started on the Rosamond Solar project about 90 miles north of Los Angeles.
So far, other major Sempra solar farm projects totally hundreds of megawatts in Arizona and New Mexico are pledged to deliver power not to SDG&E but to Pacific Gas and Electric Company in the San Francisco area.
Once constructed, the Rosamond facility should meet new United States Environmental Protection Agency guidelines to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from major facilities such as power plants and refineries. Utilities and other industrial facilities will be allowed to choose the means of reducing those emissions, and an increasing reliance on photovoltaic solar technologies to generate electricity should be helpful to Sempra Generation under these new guidelines.