General Q&A


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Q: What does it cost to develop a utility-scale solar power plant?

The cost to develop a utility-scale solar power plant varies depending on size, technology, proximity to transmission lines and many other factors. The key cost drivers for a utility-scale solar power plant are: development; land; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) equipment/materials; permitting; interconnection; insurance/taxes; working capital; start-up and commissioning; and contingency items. For more information about development of a solar power plant, visit Tenaska Solar Ventures’ website at www.tenaskasolarventures.com.

Q: Is there a long-term market for electricity made from solar energy?

We believe there is both an immediate market for renewable energy sources such as solar, as well as long-term market prospects.

Q: Does Tenaska Solar Ventures develop solar generating stations for a utility?

Tenaska typically contracts with utilities that serve as the off-taker of the power generated at Tenaska’s sites. Tenaska is a growing part of the solar energy industry in California, helping bring clean, renewable power to San Diego by developing facilities that provide reliable, environmentally responsible electricity and jobs. Tenaska helps California electricity providers meet the requirements of the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard. For more information about the types of services Tenaska can provide to customers, visit Tenaska Solar Ventures’ website at www.tenaskasolarventures.com.

Q: Does Tenaska Solar Ventures have a record of success in solar?

Yes, Tenaska has a proven record of developing successful solar projects in Imperial County and making anticipated economic benefits a reality. Tenaska Solar Ventures has two utility-scale projects in operation. The 946-acre Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South in Imperial County, California, began commercial operation in 2013. Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West followed in 2016. The projects were among the largest commercially financed U.S. solar projects at the time. The 130- (South) and 150- (West) megawatt (MW) plants are among the largest solar energy projects in California. San Diego Gas & Electric Company is the customer of both plants’ power under long-term power purchase agreements.

Q: Does Tenaska Solar Ventures operate commercial-scale solar power plants?

Tenaska retains an operations and maintenance services provider to operate and maintain its current projects. Decisions regarding contracted services are made on a project-by-project basis.

Q: Why is Tenaska Solar Ventures in Imperial County?

There was a need for renewable power generation in California as electricity providers met the benchmarks outlined in the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (33 percent of power from renewables by 2020). To help meet this need for clean, renewable electrical power, Tenaska developed solar energy projects in Imperial County, a location chosen because:

• Local leaders were committed to building a renewable energy economy in Imperial Valley and were receptive to solar development.
• Imperial County has great solar resources (abundant sunshine).
• Tenaska seeks sites for solar projects that have the ability to interconnect to large markets at a low cost. In this case, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) interconnect enables Tenaska to sell power to any of the three investor-owned utilities in California and some of the Southern California Public Power Authority members.
• Tenaska seeks to site projects near designated utility transmission corridors to minimize impacts to the environment.

Q: What kind of welcome has Tenaska Solar Ventures projects gotten in Imperial County?

One of the keys to developing a successful project is a strong, welcoming community. We’ve been fortunate to work with Imperial County and Imperial Irrigation District leaders who are committed to creating a renewable energy economy and job opportunities in the region.

Q: Is Tenaska targeting developments in other areas of the country, or is it just focused on the Imperial Valley?

Tenaska Solar Ventures was created to bring quality utility-scale solar projects to completion anywhere in the United States.


Tenaska Imperial South Q&A

Q: What is the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South project?

Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South is a 130-megawatt photovoltaic electricity generating plant that’s able to generate renewable energy power from sunlight. The solar power plant has the capacity to serve as many as 44,000 homes at times of peak electricity use.

Q: Who owns the project?

The project is owned by CSOLAR IV South, LLC, an affiliate of Tenaska. Tenaska Solar Ventures, LLC, another affiliate of Tenaska, was the project developer. Tenaska is an independent energy company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, that develops, constructs, owns and operates non-utility generation and cogeneration plants. Tenaska is an experienced energy developer, having successfully developed and constructed more than 9,000 megawatts of power over nearly 30 years in the industry.

Q: What solar power technology is used?

Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South uses a photovoltaic (PV) system that directly converts solar energy to electricity by utilizing semiconductors. The technology provider for the South project was First Solar, LLC (NASDAQ: FSLR).

Q: How environmentally responsible is this plant?

Solar energy has long been recognized as an environmentally responsible energy technology. The land used for the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South project was previously disturbed private land. The solar panels are mounted on poles above the ground. The panels work by absorbing the light from the sun, minimizing reflection. The panels do not cause hazardous emissions or chemical waste. The minimal amount of water consumed is used for dust control and sanitation uses.

Q: Could threatened and endangered species be impacted by the solar field, and why?

Concern for the environment was among the factors used to evaluate the project site. The project was located on previously disturbed land in an effort to avoid impacts to sensitive species. Endangered species are protected by federal law and appropriate precautions and mitigation measures are in place to protect these species.

Q: How many workers were employed to construct the project?

First Solar, LLC was the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor for the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South project. EPC contractors typically hire the workers who build the facility. Union labor was used for electrical work, and other labor was on a merit shop basis. Tenaska Solar Ventures worked closely with First Solar to assure that every effort was made to hire qualified local labor. Of the 500 construction workers hired to perform work at the site, more than 70 percent were from communities in Imperial County, including Brawley, El Centro, Heber, Imperial and Calexico.

Q: How is electricity delivered from the site?

A short power line links Tenaska Imperial South to the Imperial Valley substation. From there, electricity is distributed to customers of San Diego Gas & Electric Company. The electricity is delivered to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the power grid that assures reliable energy throughout a majority of California.


Tenaska Imperial West Q&A

Q: What is the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West project?

Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West is a 150-megawatt photovoltaic electric generating plant in operation in Imperial County. It uses photovoltaic technology (PV) to generate up to 150 megawatts of power from sunlight. It uses the power of the sun to meet the electric needs of more than 55,000 homes.

Q: What is the status of the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West project?

The permitting process for the more than 1,100-acre Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West project progressed smoothly. Imperial County approved the project in 2011. Construction of ancillary facilities began in June 2014, with work on the solar field commencing in November of that year. Commercial operation was achieved in 2016.

Q: Who owns the project?

The project is owned by Tenaska affiliate CSOLAR IV West, LLC. Tenaska Solar Ventures, LLC, another affiliate of Tenaska was the developer. Tenaska is an independent energy company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, that develops, constructs, owns and operates non-utility generation plants. Tenaska is an experienced energy developer, having successfully developed and constructed more than 9,000 megawatts of power over nearly 30 years in the industry.

Q: What solar power technology is being used?

The Tenaska Imperial West project is using photovoltaic (PV) technology. PV technology converts sunlight directly into electricity utilizing panels that do not emit any greenhouse gases as they track the sun. There is very limited water supply requirements, which is an important consideration for the Imperial Valley.

Q: How environmentally responsible is this plant?

Solar energy has long been recognized as an environmentally responsible energy technology. The Tenaska Imperial West site is located on previously disturbed land that hasn’t been farmed in more than two decades. The site required significantly more water than other areas within the Imperial Valley, which made it uneconomic for agricultural production. The minimal amount of water consumed to operate the solar power generation facility is used for dust control and sanitation uses.

Q: Could threatened and endangered species be impacted by the solar field, and why?

Concern for the environment was among the factors used to evaluate the project site. Because the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West site is on abandoned agricultural land, the habitat is poor for wildlife. Endangered species are protected by federal law, and appropriate precautions and mitigation measures are in place to protect these species.

Q: How many workers were employed to construct the project?

First Solar, LLC was the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor for the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West project. EPC contractors typically hire the workers who build the facility. Union labor was used for electrical work, and other labor was on a merit shop basis. Tenaska Solar Ventures worked closely with First Solar to assure that every effort was made to hire qualified local labor. Of the 800 construction workers hired to perform work at the site, 75 percent were from communities in Imperial County, including Brawley, El Centro, Heber, Imperial and Calexico.

Q: How is electricity delivered from the site?

A short power line links the project to the Imperial Valley substation. From there, electricity is distributed to customers of San Diego Gas & Electric Company. The electricity is delivered to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the power grid that assures reliable energy throughout a majority of California.


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