San Diego’s Salka Looks to Develop Renewable Energy Throughout U.S.

6/21/13Follow @bvbigelow

There’s a new renewable energy development firm in town.

Jiddu Tapia, who previously oversaw wind farm development for the U.S. subsidiary of the Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa Technology, plans to pursue similar deals in wind and solar energy for Salka, a business he’s recently established in San Diego to arrange financing, develop, build, and operate utility-scale renewable energy projects.

Salka has formed a strategic partnership with Wofi Capital, which Tapia describes as a private equity firm based in New York and backed by “a family office of ultra-high net worth investors in the Persian Gulf.”

A native of Lima, Peru, Tapia says he immigrated to New York when he was 10, graduated with an engineering degree from Manhattan College, and has worked on renewable energy projects and development for the past decade. Before joining Gamesa in 2010, he spent two years in San Diego working for Eurus Energy America.

Jiddu Tapia

Jiddu Tapia

In a phone interview, Tapia says Salka is focusing initially on developing wind energy farms and solar generating plants for its investors at locations throughout the United States. As the chief development officer for Gamesa’s U.S. subsidiary, based near Phildadelphia in Langhorne, PA, Tapia says he oversaw the development and construction of five wind farms that together generate as much as 518 megawatts. Salka plans to pursue similar opportunities throughout the United States, Canada, and other parts of the Americas, Tapia says.

A number of renewable energy developers already have established operations of some kind in the San Diego area. The nonprofit industry group CleanTech San Diego lists 10 companies that have power purchase agreements with San Diego Gas & Electric to provide more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy (or have at least 1,000 megawatts coming online by next year). They are: LS Power; Soitec; EDF Renewable Energy (previously known as enXco); AES Power; Tenaska; Pattern Energy; Canon Power Group; Invenergy; and Iberdrola Renewables.

“I think San Diego draws a lot of wind developers because it’s a great quality-of-life town” Tapia writes in an e-mail. “Wind development requires a ton of travel because you are usually developing projects in many different states, so you’re always on the road anyway and your office does not have to be located near the project…

“I have been in San Diego for six-going-on-seven years now,” Tapia adds. “I had an apartment in Philly for the week but flew back home every weekend, and we also had an office here in San Diego that I often worked out of. Being able to launch Salka while being based out of San Diego is a big reason why I am doing this and not working for another renewable energy developer.”

In a statement from Salka, Tapia says the nature of Salka’s financial backing enables the company to consider purchasing renewable energy projects that already are operating as well as projects under development.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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