SDG&E seeks to stimulate green economy in Imperial County with renewable energy center
San Diego Gas & Electric
SAN DIEGO, May 4, 2009 – To help accelerate the development of clean energy and green jobs in Imperial County, SDG&E today announced plans to open the Renewable Energy Resource Center in El Centro this week.
The new center, opening tomorrow, will assist renewable energy developers in launching their projects in Imperial County. It will evolve into a facility where schools, businesses and anyone interested in a cleaner energy future can tap a wide range of resources to learn more about renewable energy.
The center also will serve as the local development office for the Sunrise Powerlink, a 123-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line that will carry up to 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy to San Diego. Construction on the line is expected to begin in 2010.
“SDG&E was the first utility in the state to voluntarily commit to 33-percent of its power coming from renewable resources by the year 2020,” said Debra L. Reed, president and chief executive officer of SDG&E. “Opening this center represents an important step forward in fostering renewable energy development in the Imperial Valley.”
Reed said that SDG&E hopes the center will serve as a “one-stop shop” for developers considering new renewable projects in the region. Developers will be able to use the center to help navigate the procurement process and research local energy issues.
“Successful development of the renewable energy industry in Imperial County is critical for economic development and in helping to reduce record-high unemployment in the region,” Reed said.
Imperial County is the only region in the nation with the potential to develop renewable energy from geothermal, solar, wind, biomass and algae.
“The county is in a unique position to become the renewable energy capital of the nation,” said Wally Leimgruber, chairman of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. “We appreciate SDG&E’s commitment to the Valley and the fulfillment of its promise to help develop our region’s clean energy resources.”
Tessera Solar, the project development company for Stirling Energy’s Suncatcher solar power generating equipment, has contracted to sell SDG&E up to 900 megawatts of power from its solar facility in the Imperial Valley, which is moving through the approval process.
“The opening of this renewable energy resource center demonstrates SDG&E’s leadership in stimulating economic growth through the responsible utilization of our natural resources,” said Sean Gallagher, Tessera Solar vice president.
SDG&E’s Renewable Energy Resource Center will be staffed full-time by SDG&E personnel and will offer a wide variety of resource materials on renewable energy.
The center also will serve as Imperial Valley headquarters for coordinating construction activities of the Sunrise Powerlink project. In December 2008, SDG&E received approval from state regulators to build the project, so the utility can increase system reliability and bring solar and geothermal energy from the Imperial Valley to customers in San Diego. To learn more, go to www.sdge.com.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.