The news is expected to be part of a couple of splashy announcements by Mayor Brent Ives at Tuesday's State of the City address.
The agreement is in the hands of attorneys for the city as well as of GWF Energy, which plans to build the solar farm to help drive turbines once it gets approval to rebuild the Tracy Peaker Plant and run it full time, said Tracy City Manager Leon Churchill. The proposed solar farm is expected to be added to its peaker plant application now in the hands of the California Energy Commission.
Tracy acquired the 200 acres that was once an antenna farm in 2004 through an act of Congress. The land had been owned by the federal General Services Administration, which gave Tracy 150 acres and sold the other 50 for $50,000 per acre, with the stipulation that the land be used for recreation or education.
Now that it will be used for neither, finalizing the deal will take another act of Congress — which could take place in the fall — spearheaded by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and supported by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.
On March 3, Tracy sent a letter to the energy commission supporting the peaker plant application, touting the money GWF has given local charities, the amount of jobs construction will create and “environmental improvements” from the rebuilt peaker plant.
Once rebuilt, the plant will produce less smog per kilowatt of electricity generated than the part-time plant now creates, though GWF will have a permit to generate 53 times more smog overall than it does now.
Churchill said the solar farm will produce 300 construction jobs in addition to the 400 jobs remodeling the peaker plant is expected to create.
The exact amount of the deal has yet to be released, though Churchill said GWF would lease 150 acres and buy 50. Councilman Steve Abercrombie said the deal could be in the $1 million range.
The cash will help as the city tries to pare down its projected $9 million budget deficit this year.
“We’re going to do fine,” Churchill said.