EDF-R Announces Commercial Operations at Desert Harvest 1 & 2 Solar Projects

EDF-R Announces Commercial Operations at Desert Harvest 1 & 2 Solar Projects

EDF Renewables North America today announced the completion and 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 Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), while Desert Harvest 2 supplies energy and renewable attributes to Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) under a 25-year Renewable Energy Credit (REC) + Index structure contract.

solar project

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 photovoltaic (PV) technology. Desert Harvest 2 includes a 35 MW, 4-hour energy storage system (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,” commented Ryan Pfaff, Executive Vice President 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, 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.”

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 homes1. This is equivalent to avoiding more than 353,000 metric tons of CO₂ emissions annually2 which represents the greenhouse gas emissions from 76,000 passenger vehicles driven over the course of one year.

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.

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2019 Residential Electricity Sales and U.S. Census Data
According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

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