HOUSTON Jan 9 Pattern Energy Group LP said part
of its 265-megawatt Ocotillo Wind project in Southern California
began commercial operation in December, becoming the first
renewable power to connect to the $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink
transmission line, the company said.
Pattern said 94 of Ocotillo's 112 turbines are operational
and producing power for Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas &
Electric utility under a 20-year contract. The remaining 18
turbines will be installed this spring, Pattern said.
"The Ocotillo site has the strongest winds in the Imperial
Valley which results in attractive energy prices for San Diego
County residents," said Mike Garland, chief executive of San
Francisco-based Pattern Energy.
Once fully operational, Ocotillo Wind will provide enough
renewable energy to supply about 100,000 homes.
The project uses Siemens 2.37-MW turbines, including
American-made Siemens wind towers, blades and nacelles.
Ocotillo is Pattern's sixth wind project, bringing the
company's total wind output to more than 1,000 MW.
Michael Niggli, SDG&E president, said the Ocotillo project
is the first of more than a half dozen renewable power projects
in Imperial County that will connect to the Sunrise Powerlink.
The 500-kilovolt, 117-mile transmission line completed in
June, was designed to move renewable power from California's
Imperial Valley to San Diego. It took five years to permit and
18 months to build.
Final work was accelerated to get the line energized ahead
of the summer peak to bolster grid reliability in Southern
California which faced a generation shortfall due to the
extended outage of the Edison International's San Onofre
nuclear station, located half-way between San Diego and Los
An SDG&E spokeswoman said the line is carrying about 800
megawatts and will eventually carry 1,000 megawatts. The utility
has eight contracts with renewable projects that will connect to
the Sunrise Powerlink, including seven solar projects and
another wind project.
Four solar projects are under construction, the spokeswoman
Wind and solar power from the Imperial Valley area will help
SDG&E meet California's goal for utilities to use renewable
power for 33 percent of their supply.