East County News Service
July 8, 2021 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- BayWa r.e., a renewable energy developer and services provider, has entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with San Diego Community Power (SDCP), the not-for-profit community choice energy program serving five cities in the San Diego region.
Under the terms of the agreement, SDCP would purchase power for 20 years from the Jacumba Valley Ranch (JVR) Energy Park being developed by BayWa r.e. near Jacumba Hot Springs in San Diego County.
The project, however, has generated strong opposition from residents of Jacumba Hot Springs. At a filled-to-capacity town hall meeting on June 17, as ECM reported, residents voiced concerns over having a solar project with a footprint larger than Jacumba’s downtown district, close to homes, community centers, and a highway utilized by visitors as the town struggles to revitalized its tourism-based economy.
“This is industrial and destructive,” said Greg Curran, a member of the Jacumba Sponsor Group, the town’s advisory community planning group. Curran lives off-grid with wind and solar at his home, but objects to the massive scale of the 600+ acre project. He also questions why a power purchase agreement has been signed when the project has not yet been approved by county planners or Supervisors.
The town’s planning group has proposed a smaller-scale project, around 200 acres, with substantial setbacks from homes and the heart of the community.
The project, if approved, would pair a 90 megawatt (AC) solar photovoltaic array with a 70 megawatt/280 megawatt-hour DC-coupled battery energy storage system.
The developer hopes to begin construction on the project in early 2022 and is expected to create approximately 350 temporary construction jobs, utilizing a Project Labor Agreement with local unions. JVR Energy Park is expected to reach full operational status in Q1 2023 and once interconnected to the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) transmission grid, the power plant would generate enough electricity to power at least 52,000 SDCP customer households annually, according to BayW a r e. The clean energy project could offset more than 500,000 metric tons of carbon emissions over the life of the project.
SDCP was formed in fall 2019 and launched electricity supply services in March 2021 for municipal customers in the five member cities of Chula Vista, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa and San Diego. It began serving commercial and industrial customers in June 2021 and will launch its residential phase in the first quarter of 2022. The program provides local control and consumer choice regarding energy decisions on a large scale for the first time in the region's history.
“The renewable energy produced and stored at the JVR Energy Park will be an important foundational block of SDCP’s planned power supply portfolio,” said Joe Mosca, chair of the SDCP board and Encinitas city councilmember. “Working with an experienced renewables developer such as BayWa r.e. gives us confidence that we will meet our clean energy and climate goals.”
“JVR Energy Park will be a major step forward in the deployment of storage-integrated utility-scale solar in California, delivering competitively priced clean power as well as resiliency and reliability to the grid,” said Jam Attari, CEO of BayWa r.e. Solar Projects in the U.S. “We’re excited to partner with a forward-looking community choice aggregator like San Diego Clean Power on this innovative project.”
The Jacumba site consists of flat, formerly agricultural land located adjacent to SDG&E transmission infrastructure to transmit clean energy.
The Jacumba agreement represents SDCP’s first solar and storage PPA in San Diego County. As part of the development plan, the project has committed to funding improvements to the local community park as well as the preservation of 435 acres of native habitat.
BayWa r.e. Solar Projects LLC is a leading utility-scale solar developer in North America. For more information, visit https://us.baywa-re.com/
San Diego Community Power (SDCP) is a Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) committed to providing municipalities, businesses, and residents in the five member cities with clean, renewable energy at competitive rates and investing in innovative programs that benefit the environment and the economy in our communities. SDCP aims to source cleaner electricity services for approximately 770,000 customer accounts in Chula Vista, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, and San Diego. Learn more at www.sdcommunitypower.org.