Pacific Gas and Electric Company has entered into an agreement to purchase the power produced by a 177-megawatt (MW) solar thermal power plant being developed by Ausra Inc.
The plant, which will be located in San Luis Obispo County, California, is expected to begin generating power in 2010. The project will use one square mile (640 acres) of land to employ Ausra’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology, which utilizes solar heat to create steam and drive turbine generators.
PG&E currently has 553 MW of solar thermal power under contract, and has announced other commitments to build and purchase 1,000 MW of solar thermal power over the next five years.
PG&E’s solar thermal commitments are part of the company’s broader renewable energy portfolio. PG&E currently supplies 12% of its energy from qualifying renewable sources under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program. PG&E claims to be on target to exceed 20% under contract or delivered by 2010.