Pattern Energy has energized a completed portion of its Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility, making it the first renewable energy project under contract to SDG&E to come on line. The 265 megawatt (MW) wind project, which is located near the community of Ocotillo in Imperial County, has 94 turbines that are generating energy. The project, which will eventually have 112 turbines, was put into service last month and is currently sending energy across the Sunrise Powerlink.
This development represents an important milestone for the Sunrise Powerlink. The Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility is one of eight contracts SDG&E has signed with renewable developers for projects in Imperial County.
When the Sunrise Powerlink was put into service last June, it instantly brought reliability to a region with strained resources; one of the key reasons why the transmission line was designed,” said SDG&E’s president and chief operating officer Mike Niggli. “Six months later, the line is carrying its first green contracted megawatts, solidifying another reason SDG&E proposed and built this project. We applaud Pattern Energy’s perseverance in seeing this project through and we look forward to the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility being the first of more than a half dozen other renewable projects in Imperial County to connect to the Sunrise Powerlink.”
To connect this project to the grid, additional electrical infrastructure was needed. Last month, the company completed constructing a 500 kV switchyard just adjacent to the wind farm in Ocotillo; the project took just six months. This switchyard was completed in record time and energized in early December, making it possible for Pattern Energy to start testing the installed completed turbines.
The Ocotillo Express wind project is expected to be fully completed mid-2013. Four other solar projects under contract to SDG&E and which will also be transmitted over the Sunrise Powerlink, are also under construction.