Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sempra to invest US $550M in cross-border wind energy project

The United States energy company Sempra Infrastructure has announced a US $550 million investment in the construction of a new wind farm in Baja California.

The Cimarron wind project is the third phase of the Energía Sierra Juarez (ESJ) wind complex and is expected to be operational by late 2025. It calls for the purchase and installation of 64 wind turbines.

Wind turbines at Energía Sierra Juárez, another Sempra-operated wind farm in Tecate, Baja California.
Wind turbines at Energía Sierra Juárez. (Sempra)

The 320-megawatt wind farm will primarily export clean energy to the Northern California city of Santa Clara under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Silicon Valley Power, a municipal utility owned and operated by the city. That deal was announced in 2022. 

The project will utilize Sempra Infrastructure’s existing high-voltage transmission line to connect directly to the California Independent System Operator system.

The wind farm will be located just across the border from California in the municipality of Tecate, the birthplace of Tecate beer. It is 32 kilometers east of Tijuana.

Cimarron is projected to generate enough electricity to power over 84,000 homes annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 210,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The population of Santa Clara is 127,000.

Cimarron is projected to generate enough electricity to power over 84,000 homes annually; in Santa Clara, a recent census put the number of residences at around 50,000. (Wikimedia Commons)

Construction is expected to create more than 2,000 direct and indirect jobs, with Sempra Infrastructure committed to further investment in the Baja California community.

The above figures were retrieved from a press release from Houston-based Sempra Infrastructure, a subsidiary of San Diego–based Sempra. With nearly 40 million consumers, Sempra is reportedly one of the largest utility holding companies in the United States.

“We are excited to expand the ESJ wind complex and contribute to Silicon Valley Power’s clean energy needs,” Justin Bird, CEO of Sempra Infrastructure, said in the press release. “The Cimarron project represents an important step in our mission to become North America’s leading energy infrastructure company.”

With Cimarron, the ESJ complex will boast a total installed capacity of more than 580 megawatts, making it one of the largest commercial wind projects in Mexico.

Sempra Infrastructure has also filed an interconnection request for an additional 300 megawatts of capacity at the site, with the potential to expand to over 1,200 megawatts in Baja California.

Sempra said in the statement that it submitted an interconnection request to add 300 megawatts of capacity to the asset. If completed, the company would have an installed capacity of more than 1,200 megawatts of wind energy in Baja California.

The Cimarron wind project is one of the private projects related to the energy sector that have materialized in the six-year term of energy nationalist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“With this investment decision, Sempra Infrastructure shows its long-term commitment to Mexico, and takes another step to benefit the energy transition and decarbonization of the region’s economy,” the company said in a statement.

With reports from Expansión and El Economista

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