SAN DIEGO, April 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), today announced that it has entered into a 20-year contract to sell 21 megawatts (MW) of wind energy to Maui Electric Company from the Auwahi Wind project on the Ulupalakua Ranch in the southeastern region of Maui.
Construction on Auwahi Wind is expected to begin in early 2012, creating approximately 150 local construction jobs at peak and about five positions to operate the facility. The project is currently undergoing an extensive environmental review by Maui County, and state and federal agencies.
When fully operational in late 2012, Auwahi Wind will be capable of generating clean electricity equivalent to the amount used by 10,000 typical Maui homes. This new source of locally-produced wind energy will help Hawaii reach its clean energy goal of 40 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
"We are excited to be a part of this growing renewable energy market and look forward to helping advance the sustainability goals of Maui and the state of Hawaii," said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. "In doing so, we also recognize our obligation to responsibly develop this resource in a way that is respectful of the natural environment and the region's cultural heritage. Sempra Generation takes this responsibility seriously, and we will continue to work in close partnership with the local community to ensure this is a clean energy project Maui residents can be proud of."
The contract between Maui Electric Company and Sempra Generation is subject to approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.
"MECO's partnership with Sempra Generation is yet another milestone toward bringing Maui County and the State of Hawaii closer to realizing our renewable energy goals," said Maui Electric Company President Ed Reinhardt. "The addition of battery storage to this project is critical to integrating this intermittent power reliably and we commend Sempra Generation for taking this important step. While we recognize that there is much to be done to reach our 2030 goal, it is clear that diversifying our renewable energy portfolio with sources like wind, solar, wave, biomass, and biofuels is essential to our success."
The battery storage unit could store as much as 12 megawatt-hours of wind energy generated by the project's wind turbines during the typically windy morning and night hours. This stored power will help to regulate and smooth intermittent wind power, providing a valuable source of grid stability for Maui Electric.
"This project will allow Ulupalakua Ranch to maintain its rural and agricultural character," said Sumner Erdman, whose family has owned and operated the 18,000-acre ranch for decades.
Sempra Generation is expanding its alternative energy portfolio throughout the U.S. The company is an equal partner on the 200-MW Fowler Ridge II wind farm in Indiana and the 250-MW Cedar Creek II project in Colorado, which will be completed this year. The company is also developing a multi-phase wind farm in Baja California, Mexico that could generate up to 1,200 MW.
Sempra Generation operates and maintains a fleet of clean, efficient natural gas-fueled power plants and is a leading developer of solar and wind facilities that serve U.S. markets. Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2010 revenues of $9 billion. The Sempra Energy companies' nearly 16,000 employees serve about 25 million consumers worldwide.
This press release contains statements that are not historical fact and constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements can be identified by words like "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "estimates," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "potential," "target," "depends," or similar expressions, or discussions of strategies, plans or intentions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Future results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon various assumptions involving judgments with respect to the future and other risks, including, among others: local, regional, national and international economic, competitive, political, legislative and regulatory conditions and developments; actions by the California Public Utilities Commission, California State Legislature, California Department of Water Resources, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Federal Reserve Board, and other regulatory and governmental bodies in the United States and other countries where the company does business; capital market conditions and inflation, interest and exchange rates; energy markets, including the timing and extent of changes and volatility in commodity prices; the availability of electric power, natural gas and liquefied natural gas; weather conditions and conservation efforts; war and terrorist attacks; business, regulatory, environmental and legal decisions and requirements; the status of deregulation of retail natural gas and electricity delivery; the timing and success of business development efforts; the resolution of litigation; and other uncertainties, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond the control of the company. These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that Sempra Energy has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC's website, www.sec.gov, and on the company's website at www.sempra.com.
Auwahi Wind will be owned and operated by Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC. The Cedar Creek II Wind Farm joint venture is owned in part by Cedar Creek II Wind Energy, LLC, and the 200-MW Fowler Ridge II Wind Farm is owned in part by Fowler Ridge II Wind, LLC.
Sempra Generation is not the same company as the utility, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) or Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), and Sempra Generation is not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.