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Calif. community choice agencies add more big battery, solar deals

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Calif. community choice agencies add more big battery, solar deals

Local government-run community choice aggregators in California are continuing their solar-plus-storage shopping spree, with several new long-term contracts signed by Monterey Bay Community Power, Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Clean Power Alliance.

In a May 27 announcement, Monterey Bay Community Power, or MBCP, and Silicon Valley Clean Energy, or SVCE, said they have signed 20-year solar photovoltaic and battery storage contracts with an affiliate of NextEra Energy for its Yellow Pine Solar project. The 250-MW Yellow Pine facility, also known as the Yellow Pine Energy Center, is under development in Clark County, Nev. Deliveries under the contracts will start in December 2022 and continue through November 2042.

The agreements add to a surging pipeline of solar-plus-storage and stand-alone battery projects in advanced stages of development or under construction in the Southwest aimed at enabling the next level of power-sector decarbonization in the region.

MBCP has contracted for 75 MW of solar generating capacity and 39 MW of energy storage to serve 5% of its annual retail load. A separate announcement by SVCE said that agency has contracted for 50 MW of solar generating capacity and 26 MW of energy storage to serve 4% of its annual retail load. Any contracts for the other half of the Yellow Pine project were not disclosed.

MBCP CEO Tom Habashi on May 27 reported that the agency's board of directors on May 13 authorized him to execute MBCP's contract of up to $193 million for solar and storage. For the storage portion of the MBCP's contract, the 4-hour lithium-ion battery energy storage system will allow the shifting of up to 156 MWh of solar generation from one period to another, Habashi said.

At the time, the MBCP board also authorized the CEO to execute a 10-year resource adequacy agreement for 60 MW of capacity from a lithium-ion battery system that is being added to the existing California Flats Solar 130 and California Flats Solar 150 (California Flats Solar South) projects in Monterey County, Calif. The Cal Flats battery agreement is with Capital Dynamics Inc. and begins in August 2021, Habashi reported.

The Yellow Pine contracts resulted from a joint request for offers MBCP and SVCE issued in April 2019, which also led to 10-year contracts for geothermal energy from an affiliate of Ormat Technologies Inc. for a portion of a planned 30-MW geothermal project called Mammoth Phase IIB (CD4) Plant (Casa Diablo IV). The two community choice aggregators, or CCAs, also have long-term contracts with a pair of large-scale battery-backed solar farms in Kern and Kings counties scheduled to start operations in 2021, with contract prices not to exceed $40/MWh.

MBCP and SVCE have issued another joint solicitation for additional renewable resources. The CCAs are seeking to acquire renewable resources with the ability to deliver up to 2 million MWh of energy from 2021 through 2024, according to SVCE's solicitation web pages. The deadline to submit proposals is June 15 and PPA negotiations are slated to begin in August, with final contract approval in December.

Southern California solar-plus-storage

In Southern California, Clean Power Alliance, the state's largest CCA serving roughly 3 million customers, has followed up its recently approved 15-year contract for the 100-MW Luna Battery Storage Project with additional deals for another major battery peaker system, a large-scale solar-plus-storage facility and a small-scale hydro project.

Approved during a May 7 Clean Power Alliance board meeting, a 15-year energy storage agreement with an affiliate of Terra-Gen LLC for the 100-MW Sanborn Storage project in Mojave, Calif., is scheduled to start by Aug. 1, 2021. The facility is part of Terra-Gen's battery-backed Sanborn Solar Project adjacent to Edwards Air Force Base, where Southern California Edison Co. also recently signed a contract for 50 MW of storage as part of a package of deals.

Like Sustainable Power Group LLC's Luna project, Terra-Gen's Sanborn Storage facility will rely on lithium-ion batteries to provide four-hours of energy storage capacity. The developers proposed both projects in response to a 2019 solicitation required by California energy regulators to help avert a potential capacity crunch as older natural gas plants retire.

While the deal has been approved by the board, Clean Power Alliance still is negotiating final contract details with the developer, an agency spokesperson said May 27. Following the board meeting, Clean Power Alliance completed a power purchase agreement with a subsidiary of Middle River Power LLC for the High Desert Solar + Storage project in Victorville, Calif., combining 100 MW of solar and 50 MW of storage, the spokesperson said.

The High Desert Solar + Storage project is underpinned by a 15-year contract starting Aug. 1, 2021.

The agency also completed an approved power purchase agreement with the Kaweah River Power Authority for its 20.1-MW Kaweah hydro plant in Lemon Grove, Calif., the spokesperson said. Kaweah is an existing run-of-river hydro project originally licensed in 1986. Clean Power Alliance's contract starts July 1, 2020.

Clean Power Alliance did not disclose contract prices.