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New 170 Megawatt Solar Facility Comes to Southern California

On September 17, Fluor announced it has been awarded a lump-sum engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. It was also awarded a separate contract to provide operations and maintenance services for a 170 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) facility from Centinela Solar Energy LLC, a member of the LS Power Group.

Located near El Centro in Southern California, the 170-MW solar power plant is to be built in two stages: 125-MW of capacity to be installed in Phase 1 and another 45-MW in Phase 2. Fluor has received “full notice to proceed” with Phase 1, with Phase 2 expected to commence in the first quarter of 2013.

“This significant new win for Fluor further solidifies our position as a leader in the solar power engineering and construction industry,” commented president of Fluor's Power Group, Dave Dunning. “We look forward to expanding our solar resume and delivering our second solar PV project for LS Power. Fluor’s decades of project management expertise and our financial strength demonstrates our ability to bring a turnkey solution to our clients for their utility-scale solar developments.” Imperial Valley Solar Power

The Centinela PV project is set on approximately 1,600 acres in Southern California's Imperial Valley, some 90 miles east of San Diego, an area that's both literally and figuratively become a “hotspot” for solar and geothermal energy development.

LS Power on Sept. 18 announced it's fully financed the project, with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) contracted to purchase the clean, renewable energy produced per the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The long-term project finance syndicate was led by Prudential Capital Group, with shorter term bank financing provided by a group led by Sovereign Bank and four other Joint Lead Arrangers: Union Bank, Rabobank Nederland, CIBC and NordLB.

More importantly, in terms of power distribution and meeting regional demand for electricity, the Centinela solar PV facility is to be one of the first major power projects to interconnect to SDG&E's recently completed Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Line. A high-voltage, 500-kilovolt transmission line, SDG&E on June 18 announced it had completed the nearly $1.9 billion project after a 5-year long environmental and permitting process and 18 months of construction.

“We are pleased to have completed the development and commenced construction of this important solar project,” said LS Power executive vice president, John King. “This project will bring many benefits to the State of California and Imperial County, including construction and operations jobs with local business opportunities and longer-term revenues. Renewable energy deliveries over the recently energized Sunrise Powerlink will assist SDG&E and the State of California in reaching their renewable energy goals.”

Andrew Burger headshotAndrew Burger

An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.

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