May 1, 2012
Huge expansion at Solano Wind Project brings clean, renewable power to SMUD customers
New turbines supply enough energy for 44,000 homes
(SMUD photo by Joe Tapia)
Amid a backdrop of turbine blades stretching to a height of 411 feet, SMUD held a commissioning ceremony near Rio Vista this morning to mark completion of the latest phase of development at the Solano Wind Project. Finished in time to take advantage of the windiest months of the year, Phase 3 adds 128 megawatts of capacity, which is enough to power 44,000 homes.
We now have a total 230 MW of capacity on the 5,400-acre Solano property, or enough to power 79,000 homes. Completion of Phase 3 puts us significantly closer to our goal of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020.
Speakers at the ceremony included General Manager & CEO John DiStasio, Director Bill Slaton, Vestas Americas Chief Operating Officer Christian Venderby and Citigroup Managing Director Steve Dworkin.
Vestas manufactured the 55 new wind turbines and will maintain them under a long-term contract. A unit of Citigroup purchased the turbines at the end of 2011 in a financial transaction that will save SMUD $60 million to $70 million over the next six years. We plan to exercise an option to buy back the turbines. In the meantime, we have a power purchase agreement to buy 100 percent of their output.
SMUD has had wind turbines at the Solano project since 1994. The property is in the Montezuma Hills, which is considered one of the best wind resource areas in the state.