AES purchases 2GW Bellefield solar-plus-storage project in California


The 250MW Petersburg Solar Project, another large PV farm owned by AES Corporation. Image: AES Indiana via Twitter.

US utility AES Corporation has added the 2GW Bellefield solar-plus-storage project to its portfolio after acquiring it from the project developer, Avantus.

Located in Kern County, California, the Bellefield project is split into two phases, each with up to 500MW of solar and 500MW of four-hour duration battery storage (2,000MWh). The two phases are expected to come online in 2025 and 2026 respectively.

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Phase one has a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) in place with one of AES’ corporate customers, the company said. Some of the backing for the purchase was provided by Alberta Investment Management Corporation, an investor in AES with a 25% stake in its growth projects. It invests on behalf of various funds from the province of Alberta, with over US$150 billion of assets under management.

“This significant acquisition accelerates AES’ deployment of unique renewable energy solutions to our key corporate clients in the California market,” said Andrés Gluski, AES president and CEO. “With the addition of Bellefield phase one, our signed PPA backlog grows to more than 12 GW, which represents growth of more than 80% from our current installed renewable generation fleet. The vast majority of this backlog is expected to come online over the next two years.”

Last month, AES revealed plans to triple its renewable energy capacity by 2027, adding 25-30GW in the next four years. Upon completion, the company said that Bellefield will be the largest solar-plus-storage project in the US. AES said that it plans to add 3.4GW of renewables in 2023, with 2.1GW in the US alone.

In February it flicked the switch on a 100MW Arizona PV project, with a PPA in place with social media giant Meta. Corporate PPAs form a large part of AES’ practice; it signed 1.3GW of PPAs in Q3 2022 alone.

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