weather icon Partly Cloudy

Sempra to sell solar assets; leases expected to remain intact

Sempra Renewables is selling its solar assets in the United States, but the sale is not expected to affect the solar leases in Boulder City.

At the end of September the company announced it was selling all of its nonutility operating solar assets, solar and battery storage development projects and one wind facility to Consolidated Edison Inc., for $1.54 billion in cash.

Included in those assets are the four Copper Mountain projects in the Eldorado Valley as well as solar facilities in Arizona and California. Those projects have brought the city tens of millions of dollars in rent payments since 2006.

“The city has received rent payments, which includes option payments for the years prior to the construction of their various solar plants, from Sempra in the amount of $38,254,636,” said Brok Armantrout, contracts/real estate manager for Boulder City.

Money from solar leases, including those from Techren, represents about 30 percent of the city’s annual general fund, according to the 2018-19 fiscal year budget.

Even with the new owner, a representative from Sempra said the solar leases in town will not be affected.

“The announced sale will not impact the solar leases,” said Paty Mitchell of the public relations department at Sempra North American Infrastructure. “All of the rights and obligations in the leases for the Copper Mountain Solar projects remain in full force and effect.”

Mitchell said the only change will be a change in ownership to Consolidated Edison, an large investor-owned energy-delivery company with $12 billion in annual revenues and $49 billion in assets.

Consolidated Edison already jointly owns Copper Mountain 2 and Copper Mountain 3 with Sempra, according to Mayor Rod Woodbury.

“That these companies are already established partners with an ongoing working relationship is obviously is a big benefit of this transaction,” he said. “Con Edison understands Sempra’s track record of successfully developing renewable energy projects, its commitment to safety and integrity, and its dedication to the communities where those facilities are located including, most importantly, Boulder City.”

Woodbury said he was not surprised when he heard about the sale as Sempra informed the city about the intended transfer in June when it announced its portfolio optimization initiatives.

“In fact, it’s no secret that Sempra is an energy services holding company, which means that its business model contemplates developing and holding projects temporarily, then selling percentage ownership interests as a means to partnering with other energy companies or spinning them off altogether,” he said. “… Its representatives have assured us that just like Sempra, Con Edison is committed to stakeholder engagement and collaboration, working with local community groups like the chamber of commerce and nonprofits, exemplifying the highest professional standards and operating facilities with safety and reliability as the chief cornerstones of its business.”

Additionally, Woodbury said Sempra is still working with city staff on entitlements for the planned Copper Mountain Solar 5 project and has expressed its commitment to finalizing the land swap process.

“Although nobody has a crystal ball, we’re still very optimistic that this project will ultimately come to fruition,” he said.

Sempra first started paying partial rent for land in town in 2006 with Copper Mountain Solar 1, according to Armantrout. It started paying full rent in 2008.

Sempra began paying full rent for Copper Mountain 2 in 2013. Full rent started for Copper Mountain 3 in 2015 and for Copper Mountain 4 in 2017.

According to Armantrout, the Copper Mountain solar leases are for varying lengths so each one will bring in a different amount of money in their initial term. Copper Mountain Solar 1 will bring in approximately $18.7 million. Copper Mountain Solar 2 will bring in more than $102 million. Copper Mountain Solar 3 will bring in approximately $61.6 million and Copper Mountain Solar 4 will bring in approximately $26.8 million.

Armantrout also said that if the options for each lease are exercised, Boulder City could receive considerably more money.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Schools report smooth return

Parents can finally exhale after a long summer of kids in the house as school is back in session in Boulder City. On Monday, Aug. 8, all four schools in town welcomed back students for the 2022-23 school year in an orderly fashion without any mishaps.

Council OKs plan to remove turf

Water was once again the main focus for City Council. At its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 9, an agreement with the Southern Nevada Water Association that will remove turf in Boulder City to save on water was approved 4-0 by the council.

Council gets first look at Nevada Way remodel

The Boulder City Council was introduced to a project that will remodel and rehabilitate the stretch of Nevada Way from Wyoming to Park streets during its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 9.

More human remains found at Lake Mead

More human remains have been found at Lake Mead, according to officials at the national recreation area.

Fire department targets sites to improve response times

Two locations are being targeted for a new Boulder City Fire substation that the City Council approved last month to help the department improve response time to emergencies. The proposed new fire station, labeled Station 122, is looking at sites at Quartzite Road and Nevada Way as well as near the library at 701 Adams Boulevard. The city owns land in both locations.

Ex-manager sues city; claims retaliation

Former City Manager Al Noyola filed a lawsuit against the city Friday, July 29, alleging that his civil rights were violated when he was fired Oct. 13, 2020.

School begins Monday

School is almost back in session for the quartet of schools in Boulder City.

Storms cause minor damage

Monsoon season brought damage to Boulder City as the town was hit with a collection of storms last week. Luckily, the city was able to handle the storms in an efficient manner, according to officials, who dealt with the typical gravel and rock erosion, power outages and roof leaks.

Lend A Hand awarded $101K from state

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Nevada has awarded $30 million in Community Recovery Grants to nonprofit organizations including Lend A Hand of Boulder City. The local organization was one of the 30-plus applicants that received money funded by American Rescue Act Plan dollars.

Drought drives tough talks to cut water use

Nevada and two of its neighboring Southwestern states are still working on ways to drastically cut water use from the Colorado River as a deadline set by the federal government to address the worsening conditions along the river quickly approaches.