EDF Renewables switches on 214 MW of solar + storage in Southern California

EDF Renewables North America completed and reached commercial operation of the Desert Harvest 1 (114 MWdc) and Desert Harvest 2 (100 MWdc) Solar Projects. Desert Harvest 1 provides electricity to MCE under a 20-year PPA, while Desert Harvest 2 supplies energy and renewable attributes to Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) under a 25-year renewable energy credit and index structure contract.

The 100-MW Desert Harvest 2 Solar Project. EDF Renewables

The two projects are located adjacent to each other on unincorporated land in Riverside County, California, 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. Support from local, state and federal governments was critically important to the success of the project. Construction for the Desert Harvest projects included careful considerations and mitigations for a variety of environmental issues including local wildlife habitats, tribal and cultural resources, aesthetics and noise and dust control.

Both projects consist of horizontal single-axis tracking solar PV technology. Desert Harvest 2 includes a 35-MW, 4-hour ESS. The coupling of storage and solar demonstrates EDF Renewables’ ability to address specific challenges posed by the California “duck curve.”

“EDF Renewables is pleased to partner with MCE and SCPPA’s participating members — Anaheim, Burbank and Vernon — to supply affordable, in-state solar energy to their respective customers through the Desert Harvest Solar Projects,” said Ryan Pfaff, executive VP of development at EDF Renewables. “We are proud to bring these important solar additions to fruition particularly during this very challenging pandemic. The site construction team and all our subcontractors and suppliers are to be commended for delivering on time while keeping health and safety a top priority.”

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.

“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, added: “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.”

In addition to economic benefits for Riverside County, the combined projects generate enough clean energy to meet the consumption of up to 77,000 average California homes.

EDF Renewables’ Asset Optimization group will perform operations and maintenance services for the life of the project. The group will provide NERC compliance support, remote monitoring and balance-of-plant management to maximize power production.

News item from EDF Renewables North America