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SoCal Edison Inks 1,700 MW of Gas-Fired Deals

In an effort to make up for 2,200 MW of generation lost when the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) was closed last year, Edison International's Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) has signed five contracts for nearly 1,700 MW of natural gas-fired generation and another 69 deals providing the rest.

All the contracts require California Public Utilities Commission approval. SCE was seeking to encourage conservation and the development of new technology in issuing its request for offers (RFO), the company said.

The contracts, part of SCE's local capacity requirement RFO to bolster generation in the west Los Angeles Basin and the Ventura/Santa Barbara areas straddling the Pacific Coast, will kick in from 2016 through 2020. The dollar amounts of the 74 contracts are not being disclosed.

SCE received more than 1,800 final offers to supply power. For the first time ever a wide range of resource types was evaluated in head-to-head competition to meet a specific reliability objective, the spokesperson said. Besides SONGS's closing, anticipated retirement of older, gas-fired coastal generation plants was another driver for the solicitation.

The non-gas contracts were selected by Edison from "preferred resources," electricity that is cleaner and more environmentally sustainable.

"This solicitation is the first time that such a wide range of new diverse resources were directly competing in the purchasing process," said Colin Cushnie, SCE vice president for energy procurement and management. "No single energy source can  give us everything we need all of the time, particularly with our emphasis on environmentally clean resources."

Two of the contracts for 1,284 MW of gas-fired power are with AES Corp., which recently received state approvals to repower its Huntington Beach, CA, generation complex (see Daily GPI, Oct. 31). Another gas-fired contract is with New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc. for 316 MW of peaking power supplies from the Ventura/Santa Barbara area.

The "preferred" contracts include NRG and others providing energy efficiency and demand response (177.5 MW), along with various storage technologies.

Separately, NRG said it will be repowering its 262 MW Mandalay gas-fired plant in Oxnard in Ventura County and installing 178 MW of storage, demand response and efficiency products.

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