JUNO BEACH, Fla. – Genesis Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the leading generator of solar and wind power in North America, today announced plans to dry cool its proposed 250-megawatt (MW) solar thermal plant in California’s Sonoran Desert.
In evidentiary hearings that begin today before the California Energy Commission (CEC), Genesis Solar plans to formally accept the dry-cooling recommendation of the CEC staff. Although wet-cooled solar thermal projects use substantially less water than an equally sized agricultural operation, by switching to the dry-cooling alternative, the project will reduce its groundwater use by a factor of eight, from 1,600 acre-feet to 200 acre-feet annually. Genesis Solar believes that this will allow the CEC to deem the project to be in compliance with state water policies, and the remaining water use will have less than significant impacts on biology and water resources.
Dry cooling is an important part of the power generation process whereby fans blow air over a closed radiator system, condensing steam inside of the radiator back into water that is then recirculated back into the power generation process.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “Our bold and innovative vision for California has made us a pioneer in renewable energy, green jobs and environmental protection and, as a result, we are seeing a clean energy revolution in California. Today’s announcement by NextEra Energy Resources is welcome news for our state as it will help to minimize the impact on our precious water resources, increase our renewable energy sources and lead to hundreds of needed jobs for our residents.”
“The Genesis Solar Project will create jobs and strengthen our country’s energy security without producing harmful emissions,” said Mitch Davidson, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources. “With today’s announcement, we are taking additional steps to minimize the impact on California’s water resources and ensuring good paying jobs for Californians.”
“Expected to employ more than 1,000 construction workers and infuse $165 million into the local economy, the Genesis Solar Project arrives at a time when economic development and renewable energy projects are so vitally needed,” said Riverside County, California Supervisor John J. Benoit. “As this project demonstrates, Eastern Riverside County is ideally positioned to lead the nation toward a brighter, cleaner future.”
V. John White, executive director, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies said, “California projects are setting the global standard for best practices in solar thermal development. The Genesis Solar Project and NextEra Energy Resources took an important step today, and we look forward to continuing to work with them on this project.”
“Using as little water as possible and using it efficiently and effectively is the central theme of life in our desert. NextEra Energy Resources’ switch from wet to dry cooling with its Genesis Solar Project near Desert Center appropriately recognizes this reality and is to be applauded,” said Buford A. Crites, former chairman, Energy and Environment, Coachella Valley Association of Governments.
NextEra Energy Resources is seeking to maximize the employment of local residents in cooperation with the construction trade unions to assemble, install and construct the solar facility. NextEra Energy Resources plans to start construction on the project late in 2010 with commercial operations expected to begin approximately 30 months later. The project is expected to employ more than 1,000 workers during the peak of the 30-month construction period of the project. The estimated construction payroll is expected to be nearly $165 million. The contracts for construction will be awarded through a competitive bidding process.
Mike McCarron, executive secretary-treasurer of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, said, “We’re looking forward to working with local communities, developers and contractors to provide a skilled workforce that will make California a world leader in renewable energy. It will not only put people to work, it will help build a better future for us all.”
Meeting customer needs
The proposed Genesis Solar Project will be located on an approximate 1,800-acre site between Desert Center and Blythe, on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County, California. The project will be comprised of two 125-megawatt units.
Once both units are fully operational, the project is expected to produce approximately 560 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity each year. This is equal to the annual usage of more than 80,000 homes. With dry cooling, the plants’ water consumption will be equivalent to the water used by only 525 of these households.
All of the power from the Genesis Solar Project will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric under a long-term contract. Once complete, this project will reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide by approximately 330,000 tons per year, when compared to a high-efficiency natural gas plant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates this is the equivalent of removing about 83,000 passenger vehicles from the road each year.
About NextEra Energy Resources
NextEra Energy Resources, LLC is a clean energy leader and one of the largest competitive energy suppliers in North America. A subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), NextEra Energy Resources is the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun. It operates clean, emissions-free nuclear power generation facilities in New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin as part of the NextEra Energy nuclear fleet, which is the third largest in the United States. NextEra Energy had 2009 revenues of more than $15 billion, nearly 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and more than 15,000 employees in 28 states and Canada. For more information, visit www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
Cautionary Statements And Risk Factors That May Affect Future Results
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements typically express or involve discussion as to expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance and often can be identified by the use of words such as “will,” “expect,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” and similar terms.
Although NextEra Energy, Inc. (NextEra Energy) believes that its expectations are reasonable, because forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, it can give no assurance that the forward-looking statements contained in this press release will prove to be correct, including NextEra Energy’s expectations with respect to the Genesis Solar Project. Important factors could cause NextEra Energy’s actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements in this press release. Factors that could have a significant impact on NextEra Energy’s operations and financial results, and could cause NextEra Energy’s actual results or outcomes, both generally and specifically with respect to the Genesis Solar Project, to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include, among others:
• Inability to complete construction of, or capital improvements to, the Genesis Solar Project or other NextEra Energy power generation facilities
• Inability to obtain the required regulatory approvals and permits for the construction and operation of the Genesis Solar Project, including obtaining CEC Certification and Bureau of Land Management permits
• Inability to obtain the supplies necessary for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Genesis Solar Project or other NextEra Energy power generation facilities
• Changes in laws, regulations, governmental policies and regulatory actions regarding the energy industry and environmental matters
• Inability of NextEra Energy to access capital markets or maintain its credit rating
• Inability to hire and retain skilled labor for the construction and operation of the Genesis Solar Project, or other changes or disruptions related to NextEra Energy’s workforce
• Inability to sell the energy generated by the Genesis Solar Project
• Transmission constraints or other factors limiting the Genesis Solar Project’s or NextEra Energy’s ability to deliver energy
• General economic conditions
• Hazards customary to the operation and maintenance of power generation facilities, including unanticipated outages
• Unusual or adverse weather conditions, including natural disasters
• Volatility in the price of energy
• Failure of NextEra Energy customers to perform under contracts
• Increased competition in the power industry
• Changes in the wholesale power markets
• Costs and other effects of legal and administrative proceedings
• Terrorism or other catastrophic events
These foregoing factors should be considered in connection with information regarding risks and uncertainties that may affect NextEra Energy’s future results included in NextEra Energy’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission atwww.sec.gov.
NextEra Energy undertakes no obligation to update or review any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances, including unanticipated events, after the date on which such statement is made. New factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of facts, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.