CIM Group announced that it is advancing the development of Westlands Solar Park, one of the largest permitted solar parks in the world that could grow to more than 2.7 gigawatts of renewable energy potential at full buildout, which could provide clean energy to more than 1,200,000 homes. The master-planned energy park encompasses more than 20,000 acres in California’s San Joaquin Valley in western Fresno and Kings Counties and is designed to open in phases to meet the needs of public and private utilities and other energy consumers. WSP has a completed and certified programmatic environmental impact report for the entire project and WSP is one of the few renewable energy zones identified as a Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) through the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) process.
The first phase of CIM’s development at Westlands Solar Park includes Aquamarine, a 250-megawatt solar photovoltaic project, which has obtained all entitlement and conditional use approvals following a full environmental impact review. CIM signed a power purchase agreement with Valley Clean Energy Alliance, a locally governed electricity provider for the California cities of Davis and Woodland and unincorporated portions of Yolo County, for 50 megawatts of capacity, with initial delivery anticipated to occur in late 2021. Valley Clean Energy’s decision to select Aquamarine from a competitive solicitation process was based on its board adopting criteria designed to select cost-effective California-based renewable projects that minimize impacts on prime farmland, environmentally protected species, and habitat.
CIM applies sustainable principles across its real asset portfolios, and at Westlands Solar Park CIM is repurposing selenium-contaminated and drainage-impaired farmland for the development of clean energy. WSP has garnered strong support from environmental communities including the Sierra Club, NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Center for Biological Diversity. CIM’s clean energy projects will provide solutions to multiple policy objectives for the state of California’s renewable energy mandate including greenhouse gas reduction and carbon-free energy. Additionally, it is expected that WSP will contribute to economic development in Central Valley communities by diversifying the region beyond agriculture and create a substantial number of clean energy jobs over the development of the entire project.
Since its inception in 1994, CIM has focused on investing in real estate and infrastructure projects located in or serving densely populated communities throughout the Americas. WSP, located in a designated Opportunity Zone as defined under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is an example of CIM’s commitment to investing in sustainable assets across communities as well as investing in Opportunity Zones. CIM is an UNPRI signatory and its infrastructure projects have been recognized for sustainability by the California Organized Investment Network (COIN), a division of the California Department of Insurance. CIM earlier completed a 2-megawatt pilot project at WSP in mid-2016 with the Anaheim Public Utility as the off-taker.
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