San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) digs doling out energy in sunny Southern California. The Sempra Energy company is a regulated utility that serves 1.4 million electricity customers and more than 840,000 natural gas customers in San Diego County and a portion of southern Orange County. The electric utility segment owns 22,360 miles of power distribution lines, which serve about 25 communities; its 1,920 miles of transmission lines are managed by the California Independent System Operator. SDG&E also has limited power generation operations (it owns or contracts 4,520 MW of generating capacity). The gas utility operates almost 170 miles of transmission pipelines and about 8,460 miles of distribution mains.
The global recession dragged down commodity prices and industrial activity in 2009, hurting SDG&E's revenues. However, those same lower commodity prices also meant lower fuel costs for the company, allowing it to post improved operating and net income results.
In 2010 the company added 4,200 natural gas customer meters and 7,000 electric customer meters. The company posted improved revenues and earnings in 2010 primarily due to higher rate and a decrease in operating expenses.
To meet and surpass state regulations for reducing carbon emissions, SDG&E is seeking to obtain 33% of its electricity portfolio from renewables by 2020. In 2009, as part of this push, SDG&E signed a power-purchase agreement with Esmeralda Truckhaven to supply 40 MW of geothermal energy to its electric system. In 2010 it signed a four-year power-purchase deal with a Calpine unit to buy 25 MW of geothermal energy from the Calpine Geysers facility in Northern California. That year it also launched two solar power demonstration projects that focus the light and heat from the sun to generate power, as part of its ongoing solar power research and development activities.
In the first half of 2011 SDG&E added more than 1,200 MW of green energy to its portfolio. In July 2011 it signed a 25-year power purchase deal for 150 MW of solar power with Solar Gen 2 LLC and a 12-month contract for 40 MW of geothermal power with Silicon Valley Power. In 2012 it signed long-term contracts to purchase 100 MW of wind power from an Iberdrola Renewables unit and 200 MW of solar power from an 8minutenergy Renewables project. – less