Scott Simpson, Vancouver Sun, January 25, 2010
VANCOUVER — Powerex has struck a precedent-setting deal to deliver green electricity to a major California utility.
The five-year deal with Pacific Gas & Electric, which has 15 million customers, would see the BC Hydro electricity trading subsidiary annually deliver between 330 and 1,000 gigawatt hours of renewable power to PG&E.
That’s enough to meet the needs of between 30,000 and 90,000 households each year.
“This is the first true indication that there is a market for renewable electricity in California which can be served by BC Hydro/Powerex,” said British Columbia electricity sector commentator David Austin in a telephone interview.
He added that a five-year contract is one of the longest-term deals Powerex has struck, and that it’s “an indication that BC Hydro and Powerex feel confident that there is a modest amount of transmission available to deliver this product to California.”
The agreement between PG&E and Powerex needs approval from California’s public utilities commission. The price of the power has not been disclosed.
Powerex can tap into BC Hydro’s resources for the power, or aggregate it from renewable sources in 14 western states, plus B.C. and Alberta.
PG&E and other California utilities must comply with state electricity supply rules requiring them to derive 20 per cent of their power from renewable sources by 2020, and 30 per cent by 2030.
At the end of 2009, PG&E was receiving 14 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources that qualify under California’s renewable portfolio standards.
“The nice acknowledgment to Powerex is that from all the companies they could have gone to, they chose Powerex as the supplier of choice and obviously that’s nice to lock down.” Hydro spokeswoman Susan Danard said in a telephone interview. “Powerex has worked hard to earn a reputation as a North American leader for these kinds of things.”
PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said the utility is looking at a variety of renewable sources to meet state standards, and wind and solar are “probably among the most common.”
“The Powerex deal is an aggregation. We have agreed to buy a set amount of renewable energy from them and they will buy that renewable energy from a variety of sources up there and then deliver it to us as a bundled deal.”
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