Concentrating solar power company BrightSource Energy says the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved two amended BrightSource contracts with Southern California Edison (SCE).
The contracts total 1.3 million MWh annually. In its decision, the CPUC highlighted the growing importance of highly reliable clean energy resources, such as BrightSource's power tower technology, in California's electricity mix. The commission cited the company's energy storage technology as an attractive feature that decreases renewable energy integration risk.
The first of the approved contracts is for a power tower project at BrightSource's Rio Mesa site, which is designed to produce 573,000 MWh annually. The second contract approved is for a unit at the company's Sonoran West site, which is designed to produce 733,000 MWh annually. The contract will be the first to deploy BrightSource's SolarPLUS thermal storage system.
SCE submitted the approved contracts in November 2011 as part of a package of five contracts with BrightSource. The other three were rejected as too expensive, according to BusinessWeek.