EL CENTRO – CSOLAR IV South, LLC, owner of Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South near El Centro, has awarded a total of $8,000 in college scholarships to Imperial County high school students. The local scholarships were instituted for 2014 in celebration of the commercial operation of the company’s solar project in the Imperial Valley.
The annual scholarship program managed by Omaha, Nebraska-based Tenaska has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships nationwide. A total of 670 students in communities where its facilities are located have benefitted from the program since 2000.
This year, eight $1,000 scholarships were awarded to talented and community-minded students at the Imperial County public high schools that participated. A committee at Tenaska headquarters selected the promising college-bound seniors to receive the academic scholarships. Preference was given to students who demonstrate that they are prepared for college study, have good character and rank in the top 50 percent of their class.
“We believe in the value of education and the role it plays in developing future leaders,” said Todd Jonas, Tenaska senior vice president of operations and asset management. “We see great potential in these students and are pleased to help them achieve their goals. They are already having a positive impact in the Imperial Valley, and we look forward to their future contributions.”
The scholarship recipient at Brawley Union High School is Ulysses Torres, son of Raul and Rosa Torres, of Brawley.
Calexico High School seniors Glorya Escobar, daughter of Rosa Gonzalez, and Amber Valenzuela, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Valenzuela, were named scholarship recipients. Both are from Calexico.
Calipatria High School senior Lorena Ortiz, daughter of Victor and Angelita Ortiz, of Brawley, received a scholarship.
At Holtville High School, Evelin Ambrocio, daughter of Ruben and Evella Ambrocio, and Mariah Tumbaga, daughter of Guadalupe Tumbaga, received scholarships. Both are from Holtville.
The scholarship recipient at Imperial High School is Alexandra Bermudez, daughter of Sal and Annette Bermudez, of Imperial.
Southwest High School’s Jonathan Silva, son of Juan and Rosie Silva, of El Centro, received a scholarship.
The scholarship program in Imperial County was announced in November, following the start of commercial operation of Tenaska Imperial South, a 130-megawatt facility that can generate enough electricity to serve 44,000 California homes under a 25-year power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
Tenaska Imperial South was the first utility-scale solar project to begin construction in the Valley and the first to connect to SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink transmission line. The construction activity generated more than $3 million in local sales taxes and more than $20 million in contracts to local businesses and created hundreds of jobs. Approximately 70 percent of the more than 500 construction workers hired to work at the site were from Imperial County. For its contributions to the region, Tenaska Imperial South received Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation’s 2013 Project of the Year Award.
Over its operational life, Tenaska Imperial South is expected to pay millions of dollars in local sales taxes and contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to the area economy annually in salaries and local contracts and supplies.
Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West, also near El Centro, is expected to begin construction later in 2014, with commercial operation in 2016. When complete, it will produce up to 150 MW of clean, renewable energy, enough to meet the electricity needs of approximately 55,000 homes, under a 25-year power purchase agreement with SDG&E.
Like Tenaska Imperial South, the construction of Tenaska Imperial West will result in millions of dollars in Imperial County tax payments and supply and service contracts with local companies.