Onell Soto reported this morning (October 14) that Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, has agreed to sell the 150-megawatt output of a solar farm in Arizona to Pacific Gas and Electric Company. According to Soto, “The [Mesquite Solar complex] project follows San Diego-based Sempra's pattern of building photovoltaic facilities near existing power plants in the West. It is building a 58-megawatt solar plant next to a power plant it owns outside Las Vegas.”

The Sempra entity's sale to PG&E and not to San Diego Gas and Electric Company comes despite a recent Sempra Energy media announcement to concentrate more on its owned utilities. The emphasis on Sempra's California utilities such as SDG&E came as the sale of Sempra's part of the RBS Sempra Commodities venture with Royal Bank of Scotland was winding up.

Sempra Energy's SDG&E is currently in danger of not meeting state mandates this year to provide power from alternative sources. Fortunately for SDG&E's holding company and the holding company's shareholders, the state minimum alternative energy mandates for investor owned utilities have no punitive provisions for non-compliance.

The Sempra Generation-PG&E alternative energy deal comes as California's Public Utilities Commission is overseeing it's three-track R1005006 proceeding on long-term energy procurement. “While the three tracks shall be conducted concurrently, any interim decisions and rulings from one track may inform future activities in the other tracks,” according to CPUC's Order Instituting Rulemaking. One track of R1005006 will consider “issues related to the overall long-term need for new system and local reliability resources, including adoption of 'system' resource plans for each of these three utilities’ service area... These resource plans will allow the Commission to comprehensively consider the impacts of state energy policies on the need for new resources.” Decisions after considering evidence in R1005006 hearings in tracks 1 and 2 should come starting in the second half of 2011.

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