Purchasing power

Pacific Gas and Electric has entered into an agreement with Alpine SunTower, a subsidiary of NRG Energy for 92MW of renewable, solar thermal power.

The Alpine SunTower project, which uses eSolar’s solar thermal technology, is scheduled for completion in 2012. The project will be located near Lancaster, California and will produce approximately 192 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year, equal to the annual consumption of nearly 30,000 average homes.

The project is part of eSolar and NRG’s recently announced plans to develop up to 500MW of solar thermal power in California and across the south-western United States.

Solar thermal power generates electricity by converting solar energy to heat, which boils water to create steam that turns a turbine, generating electricity like a traditional steam plant.

The concentrating solar power projects feature a proprietary combination of optics and software in a pre-fabricated form factor. The scalable plants will be built in 46MW units, each of which requires one-quarter of a square mile of land.

Earlier this month, El Paso Electric signed a power purchase agreement for the full capacity of a 92MW concentrating solar power plant to be developed in southern New Mexico by NRG Energy.