PG&E Mixes Solar with Biofuels

John Davis

Pacific Gas and Electric Company says adding renewable solar hybrid power to its energy mix will mean “around-the-clock” clean energy production. PG&E has entered into two contracts with San Joaquin Solar Technology that are meant to combine solar power and biofuel. The contracts equate to 106.8 megawatts of solar thermal-biofuel hybrid power.

Located near Coalinga, CA, the solar-biofuel projects will deliver a total of 700 gigawatt hours (GWh) annually of renewable electricity to PG&E customers throughout northern and central California.

“This hybrid technology combines two renewable resources abundant in California — solar energy and biofuel from the Central Valley,” said Fong Wan, vice president of energy procurement at PG&E. “We will continue to add these types of innovative renewable energy sources to our power mix as we work to provide our customers with some of the cleanest energy in the nation and meet our state’s climate change goals.”

The renewable hybrid projects combine Luz solar thermal trough technology and steam turbines powered by biomass fuel to produce hybrid solar-biofuel renewable electricity. The incorporation of biofuel increases the overall production of renewable power by allowing for around-the-clock production of clean energy, even at night or when sunlight is not at its strongest. Each hybrid project will require 250,000 tons of biofuel annually, to be supplied from a combination of locally-produced agricultural wastes, green wastes and livestock manure. These projects are expected to begin operation in 2011.

San Joaquin Solar LLC is a subsidiary of Martifer Renewables Electricity LLC.

Energy, Facilities, Production, Solar