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Solar set to make up most of CAISO's 2016 capacity additions

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Solar set to make up most of CAISO's 2016 capacity additions

Solarpower will comprise almost all of the new generating capacity scheduled to comeinto service in the CaliforniaISO region in 2016, according to an SNL Energy analysis as of April4.

Theregion may see up to 4,405 MW of new capacity in 2016, including 84 MW onlinethis year. Figuring in two natural gas units with an aggregate capacity of 89MW that are scheduled to retire this year, CAISO should see 4,316 MW of netcapacity additions. About 91% of the scheduled capacity additions are to bepowered by renewable energy resources.

Outof the scheduled new capacity, solar comprises 88%, or 3,863 MW. Natural gasmakes up another 9%, or 391 MW, of planned capacity. Other renewable fuel typessuch as geothermal, wind, and biomass make up 140 MW of the remainder.All of the renewables are anticipated to help California meet its 33%-by-2020renewable portfolio standard, which has been boosted to a 50%-by-2030 level.

Californiais looking into the use of bulkenergy storage to help manage the increases in renewable energysupplies that are causing over-generation issues. According to a Nov. 20, 2015,CAISO case study onbulk storage, a 40% RPS by 2024 would be achievable depending on storage costs,mix of renewable generation and price of curtailment.

CAISO'soperating capacity at the end of 2015 totaled approximately 74,492 MW. Half ofthis capacity was attributable to gas-fired plants and 26% was attributable torenewable resources. Due to the net additions and 595 MW currently out ofservice, CAISO's operating capacity will increase to almost 78,213 MW by theend of 2016.

Bythe end of 2016, gas-fired capacity's share of CAISO's total generatingportfolio will decline by almost 3 percentage points and solar's share willincrease by 4 percentage points compared to the end of 2015. The capacity additionsscheduled for 2016 will make solar the CAISO region's second-largest source ofgenerating capacity.

Atotal of 3,306 MW of planned capacity in CAISO is in the late stages ofdevelopment, out of which 2,618 MW is under construction and 688 MW is in theadvanced development phase, as defined by SNL Energy.

Thelargest project in the under construction phase is 313-MW Pio Pico EnergyCenter in San Diego County, Calif. The project consists of three gas turbineunits and is owned by Ares OwnersHoldings, L.P. The project is scheduled to come into service inSeptember and has an estimated construction cost of $297 million.

Theplant has a 25-year power purchase agreement with for305 MW of its planned capacity, which will start in June 2017. Prior to thestart of the PPA, theoutput will be sold into the wholesale market.

ThePanoche Valley Solar Farm is the largest project in the advancement developmentstage. The 240-MW solar photovoltaic plant is located in San Benito County,Calif., and ownership is split between ConsolidatedEdison Inc. and RETCapital. The project is estimated to come online in December andhas an estimated construction cost of $650 million.

Itsoutput is to be sold to SouthernCalifornia Edison Co. under a 20-year PPA. The project has been thetarget ofenvironmental groups as the valley in which it is locatedis the habitat for several endangered species. The project's environmentalimpact assessment was approved by the SanBenito County Planning Commission on April 25, 2015.

UnitB3 at the Broadway plant located in Los Angeles County is slated to retire inJune. The 50-year-old, 73-MW natural gas unit is owned by the city ofPasadena, Calif. Twounits at the plant were retired in 2002.

The16-MW El Cajon plant is scheduled to retire by December. The natural gas-firedplant is owned by NRG Energy Inc.,and it is in San Diego County.

To download an updatable SNL template of power plant (unit) projects, click .

To download an updatable SNL template of regional unit retirement data, click .

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