Board committee to assess solar power delivery contract that could cost $132 million over 20 years – Pasadena Now
Pasadena Water and Power recommends that the Municipal Services Committee of the City Council approve a contract with the Southern California Public Power Authority for the purchase of renewable energy and capacity from Sapphire Solar, LLC, which includes the daily delivery of a maximum of 39 megawatts of solar photovoltaic energy and up to four hours of dispatchable battery energy storage not exceeding 19.67 MW during a 20-year contract term commencing December 31, 2026.
The proposed contract will be discussed on Tuesday, November 8, when the Municipal Services Committee meets at 4 p.m. The recommendation is expected to reach City Council in early December.
If approved, the contract would be submitted to the full city council for final review and possible approval.
Sapphire Solar, LLC, is the originator of the Sapphire Solar Photovoltaic and Battery Energy Storage System – also referred to as the Sapphire Project, a planned development located in Riverside County with a rated capacity of 117 megawatts of solar generation and 59 MW of battery storage. Project Sapphire is expected to enter service in late 2026.
Through an agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), a Joint Powers Authority and a government entity comprised of eleven municipal utilities (including PWP) and one irrigation district, one-third of the capacity generated by the Sapphire project will be received by Pasadena beginning December 31, 2026, if the contract is approved. Two other members of the SCPPA will share the balance balance.
PWP said the connection with Project Sapphire will increase PWP’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) portfolio to help meet national and local targets, and will also support reliability by providing approximately 25MW of capacity, partially offsetting capacity of 108 MW that will be phased out with the termination of Pasadena’s interest in the Intermountain Power Project (IPP) in June 2027.
The termination of PWP’s 108 MW interest in the IPP is a commitment the City of Pasadena expressed in the Power Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that the City Council approved in 2018. In addition to the termination of the IPP , PWP said other energy resource contracts worth at least 40 MW expire by the end of 2030, requiring the utility to secure replacement renewable capacity.
California has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With SB 350, passed in 2015, the state requires that 65% of all renewable energy contracts be long-term, lasting at least 10 years, and represent a diverse set of resources and types. of resources. Additionally, the SB 100, approved in 2018, requires 60% of retail sales to be powered by renewable resources by 2030, with a target of 100% carbon-free delivered energy by 2045.
To replace the capacity represented by the IPP and other expiring contracts, PWP said it plans to procure a mix of short-term and long-term renewable energy contracts that support reliability, meet future state compliance requirements and limit potential exposure to blocked investments.
In January, the SCPPA issued a Request for Proposals via its website for Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Storage Solutions. In the evaluation process, which included Pasadena and two other SCPPA members, more than 20 proposals were reviewed based on RFP criteria, such as resource type and location, reliability of electricity, contract duration and comparability with existing member contracts.
The proposal for the Sapphire project was submitted by EDF Renouvelables, with whom SCPPA will contract. PWP said the proposal offered the most competitive price and was ultimately deemed the most responsive as it qualifies for RPS compliance and will provide over 25MW of resource adequacy capacity to help meet the requirements set by the California Independent System Operator.
“PWP is not aware of any local companies that are developing large-scale renewable energy projects with associated environmental attributes and therefore has not conducted any local outreach,” a PWP statement read.
The Sapphire project is located near PWP’s service area, PWP added. The project is expected to start supplying electricity in 2027 when the IPP contract expires. Pricing for solar and battery energy storage components in the contract will ultimately be based on adjusted development costs.
According to a PWP projection of solar power and energy storage costs, the City could spend between $4.7 million and $6.6 million per year if it proceeds with the SCPPA Sapphire project contract. Final pricing will be determined once the project is complete, PWP said.
“It is respectfully requested that a 20-year contract be approved with SCPPA for Pasadena’s share of the Sapphire Renewable Energy Project beginning in 2027 for a final amount to be determined once full development costs are finalized. known,” the PWP report said.