PGandE Wins Approval for Solar Pact With BrightSource

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The 25-year contracts, which will help PG&E’s Pacific Gas & Electric utility meet state renewable energy requirements, were approved Thursday by the California Public Utilities Commission at its regular meeting in San Francisco.

PG&E will get power from a 110-megawatt solar-thermal station scheduled to be online by July 2012 and from a 200- megawatt solar-thermal station to be ready by July 2013.

PG&E also negotiated a royalty agreement with BrightSource for payments based on sales and licensing fees, which is expected to provide financial benefits to PG&E and its customers, the commission said in a statement.

Oakland-based BrightSource is building a 400-megawatt solar-thermal facility in Ivanpah, located about 5 miles from the Nevada border in the Mojave Desert.

Solar-thermal plants use mirrors to concentrate sunlight and produce heat that generates steam, which turns a turbine to create electricity.

California requires utilities to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2010. State lawmakers are considering a proposal by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to raise the target to 33 percent by 2020.

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