Unregulated CA Players’ Earnings Show Savvy

By Published On: November 7, 2013

Despite one political theory that maintains taxes, permits, and regulators are driving away energy investors, the latest quarter reports show that a few companies headquartered outside California—as well as ones established within the state—are making inroads with small renewable projects. Highlights of unregulated earnings for the second quarter include:  AltaGas—The Canadian company with interests in California power reported $24.7 million in net income for the third quarter 2013. Last year it was $12.3 million. It bought the 507 MW Blythe Energy Center, a natural gas plant with a related transmission line, for $515 million on March 25. Calpine—With geothermal and fossil plants in the state, this company posted a $30 million gain for the third quarter of 2013. Last year at this time it reported net income of $437 million. The 429 MW Russell City Energy Center in Hayward began operations in August with a contract for power to Pacific Gas & Electric, according to Calpine. The 309 MW repowered gas-fired Los Esteros plant in Santa Clara County also went online this quarter with a PG&E contract. Duke Energy—A recidivist to the state, Duke Energy Renewables invested in the Sunset Reservoir 4.5 MW solar plant in San Francisco Aug. 15, and the 21 MW Solar 1 & 2 projects in Twentynine Palms April 10. The company had dissolved its California assets shortly after the 2000-01 energy crisis. It posted income at $1 billion for the quarter. Last year at this time it was $598 million. Dynegy—The company started posting income instead of losses, with its California facilities for the quarter. Profits were $22 million in the third quarter 2013. This time last year, losses were $41 million. Units 6 and 7 at the Moss Landing facility—with 754 MW and 755 MW, respectively—got a power purchase agreement from Southern California Edison from 2014-2016. The 1,000 MW Morro Bay plant is now set to be retired. Its contract with Edison was terminated a year ago. “Dynegy is currently evaluating alternatives for the site including developing renewable energy shaping technologies as well as preferred renewable resources,” according to the company. EnerNOC—Holding demand-response contracts with California investor-owned utilities, this aggregator has been posting losses. Its third quarter 2013 earnings were was $106,857 compared to $60,348 last year at this time. First Solar—The company posted $195 million in net income for the quarter. Last year at this time, it reported $85.9 million.   It is in an agreement to build the 250 MW McCoy project with NextEra in Riverside County using its “Raytracker” technology. Also, NextEra agreed to buy the 250 MW Silver State South plant from First Solar Oct. 31. It is set to start construction next year. While located in Nevada, that plant is contracted to send power to Edison territory. IHI—This Japanese company moved the local headquarters to Aliso Viejo last year. It owns 70 MW of power plants from Redding to Bakersfield via its purchase of Constellation. U.S. earnings are unavailable. MidAmerican—MidAmerican Solar, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables, bought the 579 MW Antelope Valley Solar Project in Kern and Los Angeles Counties from SunPower in January. The power is contracted to Edison. It acquired Topaz Solar Farms from First Solar in 2012. The 550 MW photovoltaic power plant is being built in San Luis Obispo County. It’s expected to be on line in 2015, with a contract from PG&E. The company also has a half interest in the $1.8 billion Agua Caliente solar project with NRG. It also has a contract with PG&E. MidAmerican Renewables bought the Tehachapi-area 300 MW Alta Wind project from Highwind Power, a subsidiary of Terra-Gen. That energy is contracted to Edison. It’s also part owner of the 290 MW Agua Caliente solar project in Arizona, with power contracted to Edison. The company, through CalEnergy, has been a player in the state’s renewables market for years, with projects like geothermal facilities in the Imperial Valley. No related earnings information was available at press time.   NextEra Energy Resources—California’s major wind developer reported the quarter’s earnings at $281 million, compared to $162 million at this time last year. NRG—The company is posting its financials Nov. 12.       On Aug. 2, NRG announced that it completed the repowering of its 550 MW El Segundo fossil-fueled power plant near Los Angeles. The company touts that the plant can help support intermittent renewables with a fast ramp-up and ramp-down to support the grid. The plant has a 10-year contract with Edison. NRG has several California solar projects, including Agua Caliente at 253 MW. The electricity is sold to PG&E.      The California Valley Solar Ranch at 250 MW in San Luis Obispo County acquired from SunPower was completed Oct. 31, according to NRG. The project received a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the federal government. Its energy, too, goes to PG&E. Part of the 378 MW Ivanpah plant is expected to go online in fall. NRG is half owner. The 26 MW Borrego project has a contract with San Diego Gas & Electric. Southern Co.—With new investment in California solar, this Georgia-based utility reported $852 million in profit for the third quarter 2013. Last year at this time it was $976 million. Southern’s subsidiary, Southern Power, bought the 20 MW Adobe Solar Facility Nov. 5, in partnership with Turner Renewable Energy. The project is set for Kern County and contracted with Edison. SunPower Corp.— This San Jose-based photovoltaic company posted income of $87 million for the quarter. Last year at this time it was a loss of $48.5 million. Editor’s note: Current attempts to present financial information on an apples-to-apples level, but not all corporations report on the same basis.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now