SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern) today announced that its Ocotillo Wind project in Southern California reached commercial operation in December and is transmitting energy to the Sunrise Powerlink, a newly constructed 117-mile 500-kv transmission line linking San Diego and the Imperial Valley. The Ocotillo Wind project, a 265 megawatt (MW) wind power project in Imperial Valley, has 94 turbines that are erected and operational. The remaining 18 turbines will be installed in the spring. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Pattern to purchase the sale of energy produced by the project.
"The Ocotillo Wind project is a shining example of achieving local, state and national energy goals, while being the first renewable project to connect to the Sunrise Powerlink," said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy. "Nearly 70% of the project was 'made in America,' producing local construction jobs, manufacturing jobs at the Southern California factory where the towers were built and additional jobs in factories around the United States where the turbines and other components were made. The Ocotillo site has the strongest winds in the Imperial Valley, which results in attractive energy prices for San Diego County residents. We would like to thank SDG&E, California ISO, the local community leaders, and the Imperial County Board of Supervisors for their tremendous efforts in helping make the Ocotillo wind project a reality."
The Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, completed in June 2012, connects San Diego with the Imperial Valley – one of the most renewable-rich regions in California. The Sunrise Powerlink will eventually carry 1,000 MW of additional power into San Diego, or enough energy to serve 650,000 homes.
"When the Sunrise Powerlink was put into service this past June, it instantly brought reliability to a region with strained resources; one of the key reasons why the transmission line was designed," said Michael R. Niggli, president and chief operating officer of SDG&E. "Six months later, the line is carrying its first green contracted megawatts, solidifying another reason SDG&E proposed and built this project. We applaud Pattern Energy's perseverance in seeing this project through and we look forward to the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility being the first of more than a half dozen other renewable projects in Imperial County to connect to the Sunrise Powerlink."Once fully operational, the Ocotillo Wind project will provide enough clean and renewable energy to power nearly 125,000 homes in Southern California each year. Construction of the project has created over 350 jobs, utilizing many workers and subcontractors from the local region. Ocotillo Wind will also generate substantial tax revenues over the next 30 years, benefiting Imperial County and local schools, among others. "Pattern's Ocotillo Wind facility is creating a tremendous economic impact on the Imperial Valley," said Mike Kelly, Chairman of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. "With significant annual tax revenue and a long-term meaningful financial commitment to the region through its Community Benefits Program, residents will enjoy many benefits from this wind power facility." The Ocotillo Wind project was selected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to help America reach its clean energy goals and protect its future energy security. The project is utilizing 112 Siemens 2.37 MW turbines, including American-made Siemens wind towers, blades and nacelles. The towers are made in California, manufactured by Ameron International, while the blades are made in Iowa and the nacelles are made in Kansas. Pattern's team of meteorologists has conducted three years of extensive wind studies demonstrating that the Ocotillo project site has excellent wind resource. In addition, the project site has been identified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as the best wind resource in Imperial Valley.