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SDG&E to buy 120 megawatts of solar, geothermal energy

Nov 13, 2006 San Diego Gas & Electric

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced that it has signed new contracts to procure an additional 120 megawatts (MW) of solar and geothermal power for its customers by 2010.

Two solar contracts with Bethel Energy LLC will add nearly 100 MW of renewable electricity to SDG&E's energy portfolio. Another contract with Esmeralda Energy Co. will supply an additional 20 MW of geothermal energy beyond the 20 MW SDG&E announced in March 2006.

A megawatt is enough to power approximately 650 homes.

The renewables facilities will be built in Imperial Valley, Calif.

"We are pleased to add these contracts to our resource portfolio, because they move us closer to our goal of providing 20 percent of our customers’ energy needs from renewable resources like solar and geothermal by 2010,&" said Terry Farrelly, vice president of electric and gas procurement for SDG&E.

SDG&E now has approximately 16 percent of its customers' energy requirements under contract to be delivered by 2010.

"Bethel Energy is excited by the opportunity afforded by SDG&E to rebirth the solar thermal industry in California and to offer its customers clean renewable energy that is free from dependence on foreign oil," said Len Daniel, president and founder of Bethel Energy.

"We look forward to working with SDG&E on our San Felipe Geothermal Project in Imperial County," said Jack McNamara, president of Esmeralda. "Geothermal energy production, which involves using heat from beneath the earth's surface to generate electricity, is the most prolific power generator of all renewable sources in California. Geothermal is a baseload power source, producing energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

SDG&E will be submitting the new contracts for approval to the California Public Utilities Commission this year.

Esmeralda Energy Company, a Nevada corporation, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Geo-Energy Partners-1983 Ltd., a major geothermal leaseholder. Esmeralda also is currently carrying out exploration at its Emigrant Geothermal Project site with the U.S. Department of Energy's GRED III program. 

Bethel Energy LLC's president, Len Daniel, pioneered the solar thermal industry in 1983 by managing the construction of the first solar thermal plant in Daggett, Calif.  He was also involved in the engineering, construction and operation of an additional 365 megawatts of solar thermal power through 1991. To learn more, send an email to

San Diego Gas & Electric is a full-service energy utility that currently serves 3.4 million consumers through 1.3 million electric meters and more than 825,000 natural gas meters. The utility's service area spans 4,100 square miles and serves customers in more than 125 communities from Southern Orange County to the Mexican border. SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company. To learn more, go to


Updated: 2003/07/28