GE Energy Financial Services, Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. (CPV) and Diamond Generation Corporation (DGC) announced that they secured financing for an 800 megawatt (MW) thermal power plant in Riverside County, California. The three companies are co-owners of the Sentinel Facility, a $2 billion project which will produce enough power for 239,000 homes when completed. CPV owns 25 percent, DGC owns 50 percent and GE 25 percent. Called the “largest project financing in the U.S. thermal power industry this year” by mfrtech.com, Sentinel is located five miles northwest of Palm Springs, near Desert Hot Springs. The thermal plant will supply power to the Coachella Valley and Los Angeles Basin through an agreement with Southern California Edison.
The three companies have secured almost $2 billion of financing commitments. The project is expected to generate 300 construction jobs, almost 400 indirect jobs, an estimated $300 million in sales tax during construction and an estimated $6.4 million in annual property taxes once it is operating. Gemma Power Systems California, Inc. is scheduled to start constructing the thermal plant “immediately,” according to mfrtech.com, and the facility is scheduled to start operating in the summer of 2013.
GE Energy will supply eight gas-fired LMS100 turbine generators for the thermal power plant. CPV Sentinel will provide peak power on demand to help prevent blackouts when the weather is very hot, something that occurs quite a bit where the plant is located.
California has the largest renewable energy standard (RES) in the U.S. at 33 percent. Darryl Wilson, vice president—aeroderivative gas turbines for GE Power & Water, says that the thermal plant’s “supply of consistent and reliable power on demand will facilitate the growth of intermittent energy sources like wind and solar that are plentiful in this area of southern California.”
“This is a landmark announcement for CPV, and we are proud to partner with such an excellent team of industry leaders,” said John Foster, executive vice president of CPV. “The project’s cutting-edge technology will help to modernize California’s energy portfolio while meeting both current and future demands in the most environmentally sensitive manner possible.”
Riverside County is becoming a renewable energy hub. In December, the California Energy Commission approved two solar energy projects: the 500 MW Palen project and the 150 MW Rice. The Palen project will create 134 permanent jobs, and 1,140 during construction. The Rice project will create 47 permanent jobs and 430 construction jobs.
Two solar trough projects, which will be in Riverside County, are under review by the California Energy Commission: the 1,000 MW Solar Millenium Blythe project, and the 250 MW Genesis Solar project.