New generation capacity will support peak demand
Monterey and Sunnyvale, Calif., Dec. 5, 2023 – Central Coast Community Energy (3CE) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) have each signed 15-year contracts with Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Energy) to receive electricity from SunZia Wind, a new renewable energy project located in Lincoln, Torrance, and San Miguel counties in New Mexico.
The project is expected to begin full construction in 2023 and come online in 2026; SunZia Wind is expected to provide over 3,500 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy generation to the California Independent System Operator and other western energy markets. The total electricity from the project is enough to power the needs of more than 3 million Americans. Of the new project, 3CE will receive its share of power from the overall facility in the amount of 200 MW and SVCE will receive 100 MW, with the remaining available capacity contracted to load serving entities in California and Arizona.
The wind generation will complement California and Arizona’s abundant solar generation by providing a continued source of clean electricity in the late afternoon and early evening hours, the region’s peak demand period, when solar output decreases. This is also a time of day when the grid can reach crucial conditions during extreme summer heat, whereby SunZia’s energy will lessen the need for fossil fuels to meet the high levels of demand. The project is located in a region with some of the highest wind capacity factors in the country, and which is enabled by a new 550-mile transmission line (SunZia Transmission) that allows for deliveries of power into the CA and AZ load centers.
“We are thrilled to sign on to this wind energy project, which will constitute 11% of our load once operational and marks a pivotal step towards our ambitious goal of achieving 100% renewable retail energy sales,” said Robert Shaw, 3CE CEO. “This project will help to diversify and enhance the reliability of our renewable portfolio and will help accelerate the cleaning of California’s grid and our collective transition away from fossil fuels.”
“SVCE is committed to grid reliability,” said Girish Balachandran, SVCE CEO. “The 100 MW from SunZia will provide generation during a critical time of day, and its fiscal and environmental benefits will have impact well beyond our 15-year contract.”
“We welcome these partnerships with Central Coast Community Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy for wind power harnessed in New Mexico from our SunZia Wind project,” said Hunter Armistead, CEO of Pattern Energy. “With a uniquely powerful wind resource, SunZia’s generation profile has a strong evening peak that is a fantastic complement to daytime solar. SunZia will deliver clean power for 3 million Americans.”
The SunZia Wind and Transmission projects are expected to generate $20.5 billion dollars in total economic benefit to the region and will create more than 2,000 jobs at peak construction and more than 100 full-time permanent jobs to operate and maintain the facility.
These contracts are a result of a request for offers issued in 2022. To date, 3CE and SVCE have signed 12 joint power purchase agreements, totaling 1,513 MW of clean energy and 316 MW of storage.
About Central Coast Community Energy
Central Coast Community Energy (3CE) is a public agency that sources competitively priced electricity from clean and renewable energy resources. 3CE is locally controlled and governed by board members who represent each community served by the agency. Revenue generated by 3CE stays local and helps keep electricity rates affordable for customers, while also funding innovative energy programs designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate economic development. 3CE provides service to approximately more than 1 million people throughout the Central Coast, including residential, commercial, and agricultural customers in communities located within Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more at 3CEnergy.org and on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
About Silicon Valley Clean Energy
Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, community-owned agency providing clean electricity from renewable and carbon-free sources to more than 272,000 residential and commercial customers in 13 Santa Clara County jurisdictions. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Silicon Valley Clean Energy is advancing innovative solutions to fight climate change by decarbonizing the grid, transportation, and buildings. Learn more at SVCleanEnergy.org.
Michaela Pippin, Principal Communications Specialist