Today, EDF Renewables North Americaannounced the completion and commercial operation of the Desert Harvest 1 (114 MWdc) and Desert Harvest 2 (100 MWdc) solar projects. Desert Harvest 1 will provide electricity to MCE under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), while Desert Harvest 2 will supply energy and renewable attributes to Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) under a 25-year Renewable Energy Credit (REC) + Index structure contract, according to EDF.
Both projects are located in Riverside County, California, on unincorporated land administered by the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM designated this area as a Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) and Development Focus Area, land set aside for utility-scale renewable energy development. Construction for the Desert Harvest projects included considerations and mitigations for environmental issues including local wildlife habitats, tribal and cultural resources, aesthetics, and noise and dust control.
The construction of Desert Harvest 1 and 2 represented almost 190,000 labor hours in partnership with local trades and unions including: Labors Local 1184, Operators Local 12, Ironworkers Local 433, and IBEW Local 440. These partnerships contribute to MCE’s over 1.5 million labor hours and 5,000 jobs on new California renewable energy projects.
The two projects consist of horizontal single axis tracking solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. Desert Harvest 2 includes a 35-MW, 4-hour energy storage system (ESS). Also, in addition to economic benefits for Riverside County, the combined projects generate enough clean energy to avoid over 353,000 metric tons of CO₂ emissions annually, according to the company.
EDF Renewables’ Asset Optimization group will perform operations and maintenance services for the life of the projects. The group will provide NERC compliance support, remote monitoring, and balance-of-plant management to maximize power production.
“MCE’s partnership with EDF Renewables on the Desert Harvest project provided an exciting opportunity to invest in clean, renewable solar energy, while growing California’s economy through in-state job creation,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “Construction of projects like this that increase adoption of solar resources, instead of fossil fuels, helps us secure a clean energy future for California.”
Michael Webster, Executive Director of SCPPA, stated the following, “Desert Harvest 2 supplies 100 MWdc of solar capacity to our growing renewable resource mix of geothermal, wind, biomass, small hydro, and solar resources. This project will help our Participating SCPPA Members meet and exceed renewable energy requirements, while at the same time minimizing costs and maintaining reliability.”