California electricity provider Valley Clean Energy (VCE) entered a 15-year solar + storage power purchase agreement on Leeward Renewable Energy’s 72-MW solar and 36-MW (144 mWh) battery storage Willow Springs 3 facility in Kern County.
The Willow Springs 3 project will supply enough clean electricity for approximately 27% of VCE’s 125,000 customers in Yolo County by the end of 2023. The agreement will also support VCE’s goal of having a 100% carbon-neutral portfolio by 2030.
As part of the agreement, Leeward will contribute to VCE’s local workforce development and sustainability efforts in Yolo and Kern counties to support local hiring and training.
“Valley Clean Energy is proud to announce our partnership with Leeward in the Willow Springs 3 project,” said Dan Carson, VCE’s board chair and Davis City council member. “The urgency of climate change demands that we add more new renewables to the grid, but our mission does not stop there. Bringing additional benefits to our community is a priority for VCE, and this agreement strengthens our communities where we need it most—with clean energy and good jobs.”
Willow Springs 3 will generate significant economic benefits for Kern County and create about 300 local jobs during construction. This announcement builds on Leeward’s momentum in the Antelope Valley, marking its fourth PPA serving the renewable energy needs of community choice aggregators from its solar projects in Kern County.
“Willow Springs 3 will further enhance our ability to provide Californians with a cleaner, more reliable power grid. We are very excited to partner with Valley Clean Energy to not only expand the use of renewable energy throughout California, but also deliver additional benefits to the residents of Kern and Yolo Counties through local workforce engagement and sustainability initiatives,” said Kathryn Arbeit, senior VP of development at Leeward.
Leeward will own and operate the facility. Construction will begin in December 2021 and the project is expected to deliver energy to VCE by December 2023.