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Edison Scraps Accord to Buy Tessera Solar Plant Output

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Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Edison International, owner of California’s largest electric utility, said in a regulatory filing it terminated an agreement to buy solar power from Tessera Solar’s plant in Southern California.

Edison had sought approval from the California Public Utilities Commission for a contract with Tessera’s planned 663-megawatt solar project in the Mojave Desert east of Los Angeles. Edison notified the commission today of the termination in the filing.

Vanessa McGrady, a spokeswoman for Rosemead, California-based Edison, declined to comment on the reason for the cancellation, citing a nondisclosure agreement. Tessera is pursuing alternative power-purchase agreements for the project, Janette Coates, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

The cancellation of the contract is “close to the stake in the heart of the project,” said Eric Wesoff, a senior analyst at Greentech Media in San Francisco. “When that utility says ‘we are no longer interested in buying that power’ and cancels that power-purchase agreement, that leaves that project essentially orphaned.”

Tessera, a unit of closely held, Dublin-based utility NTR Plc, won approval in October from U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to build its Calico plant on federal land. The California Energy Commission, which licenses power plants in the state, approved the facility on Dec. 1, according to a statement. The plant would be built 37 miles (60 kilometers) east of Barstow.

Southern California Edison said last month it expects to deliver 19 percent to 20 percent of its power from renewable resources by the end of 2010, up from 17 percent last year.

California requires investor-owned utilities to supply 20 percent of their capacity from clean-energy sources by the end of this year, increasing to 33 percent by 2020.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net.

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