Iberdrola Renewables recently announced that it had sold 50 Megawatts to the City of Santa Clara Silicon Valley Power (SVP) from its Manzana Wind Power Project that is still under construction. According the contract Iberdrola will provide 50 MW to Santa Clara for a period of twenty years starting from the commercial operation of the Manzana plant which is expected to be in the last quarter of 2012. SVP is Iberdrolla’s repeat customer according to Martin Mugica, an executive vice president of Iberdrolla renewable, who added that the company was delighted to be of help to SVP in meeting its renewable energy portfolio goals. The Purchase will supply the Santa Clara community with clean cost competitive energy whilst creating jobs.
According to the SVP manager of customer services Larry Owens, the wind power purchase meant that the company met the California’s renewable energy requirements ahead of time. It also enabled the company to meet its internal and customer environmental stewardship targets and requirements. Owens was referring to the legislation that requires California’s electric utility companies to produce at least 33% of their power from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The 50MW purchase is enough to power approximately 20,000 typical Santa Clara homes.
The Manzana Wind Power Project is located in the Kern County, California, in the wind resource abundant area of Tehachapi near Rosamond. The project has some 126 General Electric 1.5 MW wind turbines and the associated works necessary for power collection, operations and maintenance of the windmills. The project peak power output will be 189 MW which is equivalent to annual emissions of 21,500 cars. Other than reduction in greenhouse emissions, wind power is a mitigation measure against the risks associated with dependence on fossil fuels particularly due to their price vitality.
The carbon impact of the project is minimal since the GE turbine ‘nacelles’ used for the project, the components that contain generators, gearboxes, brake assemblies and drive trains, were manufactured in GE’s Tehachapi factory. The factory is situated less than a one hour drive from the Manzana site. The rest of the of the components were manufactured in Florida meaning that all the major components were sourced from nearby locations minimizing the carbon costs associated with transport.
The Manzana project is the latest project in a series of green projects in California which is trying to increase the percentage of power from renewable resources from the 11.6% level in 2009 to 33% in 2020. The state is very green technology friendly offering market based incentives for new and existing facilities that are powered by renewable energy. With such a background it is likely that we will see more green energy projects in California.