PG&E adds more utility-scale solar power to its energy mix

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has entered into two contracts with San Joaquin Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Martifer Renewables Electricity LLC, for a combined 106.8 megawatts (MW) of solar thermal-biofuel hybrid power. 

Located near Coalinga, CA, the solar-biofuel projects will deliver a total of 700 gigawatt hours (GWh) annually of renewable electricity to PG&E customers throughout northern and central California.

This hybrid technology combines two renewable resources abundant in California -- solar energy and biofuel from the Central Valley.

Fong Wan, VP - energy procurement, PG&E said, "We will continue to add these types of innovative renewable energy sources to our power mix as we work to provide our customers with some of the cleanest energy in the nation and meet our state's climate change goals."

Martifer's renewable hybrid projects combine Luz solar thermal trough technology and steam turbines powered by biomass fuel to produce hybrid solar-biofuel renewable electricity.

The incorporation of biofuel increases the overall production of renewable power by allowing for around-the-clock production of clean energy, even at night or when sunlight is not at its strongest.  Each hybrid project will require 250,000 tons of biofuel annually, to be supplied from a combination of locally-produced agricultural wastes, green wastes and livestock manure.

These projects are expected to begin operation in 2011.

Ricardo Abecassis, President of Martifer Renewables Solar, said the company expects that these and future Martifer projects will increase the level of clean, affordable, renewable energy in California while at the same time alleviating the pressure on agricultural producers and municipalities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The contracts filed with the California Public Utilities Commission are part of PG&E's broader renewable energy portfolio. Since 2002, PG&E has entered into contracts for over 2,500 MW of renewable power. California law requires each investor-owned utility to increase the share of eligible renewable generating resources in its electric power portfolio to 20 percent by 2010. PG&E has made contractual commitments to have over 20 percent of its future deliveries from renewables.  For 2008, PG&E expects to have 14 percent of its energy delivered from renewable sources.