Some California cities are looking to the Nevada desert to supply them with renewable energy. It was announced on Wednesday that the cities of Los Angeles and Burbank have agreed to sign a 20-year agreement to purchase power from a solar plant being to be built in Nevada by Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. The Copper Mountain Solar 3 plant will be located in Boulder City, Nevada, about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas and will have a capacity of 250 megawatts (MW), which is enough to power 80,000 homes.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will be purchasing 210 MW of the power generated by Copper Mountain Solar 3 while the remaining 40 MW will go to the city of Burbank. The power purchasing agreement is being done through the Southern California Public Power Authority, which finances power and transmission resources on behalf of its 11 municipal utilities, including Los Angeles and Burbank and one irrigation district. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will operate and maintain the transmission lines and substation required to deliver the power from Nevada to California.
Copper Mountain solar 3 is part of Sempra’s larger goal of generating 1400 MW of renewable capacity by 2016. It will be adjacent to two other solar power plants in Boulder City by the company. Copper Mountain Solar 1 is a 58-MW plant completed in 2010 that can power 17,000 homes. Copper Mountain Solar 2 has a 92-MW first phase that has just been completed and will have a 58-MW second phase scheduled to be completed in 2015. Combined, these 3 plants will be one of the largest solar power complexes in the entire southwest, according to Sempra.
This solar power agreement also helps the city of Los Angeles reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa admits that “it’s high time LA kicked its addiction to dirty coal energy” and is proud to participate in this public-private partnership in producing and using renewable energy.