GlassPoint Solar, the leading supplier of solar energy to the oil industry, has partnered with oil and gas producer, Aera Energy, to build one of the largest solar energy projects in the United States.
The integrated solar project will be the first of its kind in the world to use solar steam and solar electricity to power oilfield operations, efficiently reducing the field’s carbon emissions. Located at the Belridge oilfield in California, the solar plant will deliver the largest peak energy output of any solar plant in the state once complete, according to a press release.
Ben Bierman, chief operating officer and acting CEO of GlassPoint said, “Our partnership with Aera Energy reflects our commitment to innovating in response to the growing needs of our oil and gas customers around the world.
Our solar steam technology was invented in California and then proven at scale in the desert oilfields of Oman. Our operating experience and learnings achieved over the past five years in Oman were instrumental in driving our California expansion.”
“Deploying solar electricity panels is a natural extension of GlassPoint’s solar oilfield expertise. The solar electric facility will be built alongside the solar steam facility making Belridge, the first oilfield in the world to use both solar energy solutions for oil production,” added Bierman.
The Belridge Solar project will consist of an 850MW solar thermal facility, producing 12mn barrels of steam per year, and a 26.5MW photovoltaic facility that will generate electricity. The solar-generated steam and electricity will reduce natural gas currently used onsite in oilfield operations. The facility is projected to save more than 376,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, offsetting the equivalent of 80,000 cars.
Aera Energy CEO Christina Sistrunk said, “Aera is committed to safe, responsible operations and is thrilled to extend our environmental leadership by using solar to power our production.
By working with GlassPoint, Aera is partnering with a company that has proven the viability of this technology in California and in Oman. GlassPoint offered the only solution designed specifically for oilfield deployment, with improvements in safety and simplicity for our operations.
This is very important for Aera as we don’t want to put our people, environment or production at risk. GlassPoint’s understanding of the industry’s standards and experience in steam integration are key to ensure the project’s success.”
GlassPoint’s solar technology provides low-cost renewable energy for extracting heavy oil. Heavy oil is produced by injecting steam into the reservoir to heat the oil so it can be pumped to the surface. This process, known as thermal Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), typically generates steam using natural gas.
GlassPoint is currently constructing Miraah, a landmark project with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). Once complete, Miraah will produce over one gigawatt of peak thermal energy, making it one of the world’s largest solar plants of any kind.