SAN FRANCISCO, June 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Idemitsu Renewables, the US-based renewable energy business of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd, announced today it has closed on debt financing for its 50 MWp Central 40 solar project in Stanislaus County, California.
Debt financing was provided by KeyBank National Association. KeyBanc Capital Markets served as sole arranger of the financing. “This project expands Idemitsu Renewables’ operating business in California,” said Cary Vandenberg, Managing Director of Idemitsu Renewables. “We were happy to build upon our existing relationship with KeyBank and to close a successful transaction even amidst the difficulty of the current COVID environment.” “As a part of our continuing support for renewable energy, we are pleased to support the growth of Idemitsu Renewables’ solar business in California,” said Andrew Redinger, Manager Director & Group Head, Utilities Power & Renewables at KeyBanc Capital Markets.
The renewable power generated by Central 40 will be sold through a power purchase agreement with Silicon Valley Power, which serves the City of Santa Clara. Idemitsu Renewables, the US-based renewable energy subsidiary of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd, is a leading solar and storage developer and IPP. The company acquires, develops, owns, and operates utility-scale solar power generation plants; selling the clean energy to help communities both economically and ecologically live in healthier environments. With offices in California and Nevada, Idemitsu Renewables continues to develop its growing pipeline of energy projects. Learn more at http://idemitsurenewables.com/.
This year’s Mexican grape season was slightly different from past seasons, according to Mike Asdoorian of DLJ Produce. “A lot of growers have pulled out their early season varieties and planted later season premium varieties, which has changed up the structure of the season,” he says. For the RazzleDazzle grapes, there are about 2-3 weeks left in the Mexican season, and after this they will switch over to their Central California production.
The RazzleDazzle crop started out of Mexico in the beginning of June and will likely stretch to the beginning of July. Asdoorian shares: “The main focus is the quality of the grapes. We waited with packing the product at the start of the Mexican season so assure the highest quality. We also don’t want to overextend the season too much because we don’t want to affect the quality.”
Mexico has seen some high temperatures lately which has worried growers in the area. “There have been some heat related issues in Mexico that we want to keep our eyes on. The fruit’s quality is still good, the heat is just slowing everything down a bit. The transition to California is coming up, though, so that should alleviate the worries about the temperatures in Mexico. We’re expecting to have good volumes out of California by the second week of July,” Asdoorian shares. Some logistical challenges, but good demand despite pandemic
The spike in COVID-19 cases in Arizona has caused some additional challenges for companies in the area. Asdoorian explains: “There are some really strict regulations, such as not letting truck drivers into facilities to reduce possible exposure. It’s been difficult getting the product across the border because of the strains on the infrastructure. Trucks rates are slightly elevated, and there are limited numbers of USDA inspectors available. Those who are available are also subject to the extra precautions and restrictions. So, getting product into the US has been a challenge, but I’d say we’ve adjusted well to it.”
The majority of the product goes directly into retail, and the demand for the RazzleDazzle grapes has been good, Asdoorian says. “The combination of the exclusivity of the program with the benefit of the fact that people aren’t eating out as much has driven demand. The grape category as a whole might not be up by any significant amount, but in general people are buying more produce. We, specifically, are seeing a double-digit growth for our grapes, so we’re looking forward to moving along the season, have a good transition and do the best we can,” he concludes.
By Saur News Bureau/ Updated On Wed, Jun 24th, 2020
Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers traveling through California’s Central Valley now have more than 150 miles of State Highway 99 supported by fast-charging stations at three Love’s Travel Stops. The expansion is a result of a partnership between EV Connect and Trillium, Love’s alternative fuel business unit.
The California Electric Highway is an extensive network of charging stations along Interstate 5, Highway 99, and other primary roads throughout California. The completion of the new charging stations expands California’s portion of the nearly 4,000-mile West Coast Electric Highway aimed at providing charging stations every 25 to 50 miles. The initiative is funded through incentives and grants from the California Energy Commission. Funding support is provided by the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which invests in transportation and fuel technology innovation that helps California meet its energy, clean air and climate change goals. EV Connect will operate the charging stations, while Trillium will build the sites and provide ongoing management.
The three Love’s charging sites will feature rates of 50 or 150 kilowatts and accommodate charging for up to four vehicles at one time. The new charging stations, including DC fast chargers (DCFC) and level-2 chargers at Love’s stations in Ripon, Madera and Tulare, use EV Connect’s EV Cloud, an innovative cloud-based software platform for managing electric vehicle charging infrastructure. “We can now provide electric vehicle drivers the same safe and well-maintained travel stop services that we’ve provided to professional truck drivers and everyday motorists since 1964,” said Frank Love, co-CEO of Love’s. “We’re excited to welcome motorists along Route 99 and play a part in reducing emissions through our electric vehicle infrastructure.”
EV Connect provides the industry’s largest open-standards EV charging cloud platform for managing networks of charging stations, their interaction with utilities and the improvement of the driver experience. “Love’s Travel Stops are a mainstay of the American road trip, and we are excited to help roll out charging locations on the nation’s highway system and bring long-distance mobility to electric vehicles,” said Jordan Ramer, founder, and CEO of EV Connect. “We are pleased to work with Trillium to deploy their DCFCs in strategic locations to fulfill part of EV Connect’s deployment program under the California Energy Commission grant program.”
A local college official says Amazon is looking to hire more than 3,000 people — three times the total required under a subsidy agreement worked out with Kern County officials — to work full- and part-time at a large distribution center the e-commerce giant expects to open this summer just north of Meadows Field Airport. Amazon has never specified publicly how many jobs total it expects to create at the warehouse. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the estimate included in a blog post Sunday by Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian.
Christian’s blog announced the college’s Student Employment Office has partnered with the company to host a series of four virtual job-recruitment events. The first two of the one-hour Zoom events are set for 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, with the rest scheduled for exactly one week later. Christian wrote that Amazon representatives will provide step-by-step information about how to apply for a job at the warehouse and what are its requirements, expectations and benefits packages. Job applicants may pre-register online for the recruitment events at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/event/amazon-day.
Amazon has already started hiring upper-level jobs to work at the distribution center, which will also be staffed by robots. The company has advised job-seekers interested in working at the new building to check its hiring website, amazon.com/jobs. It said the best way to get updates is to text “amazon” to 77088. Kern’s Board of Supervisors agreed in 2018 to give Amazon $3 million in local tax rebates in exchange for employing 1,000 county residents at an average wage of $31,000 per year at the distribution center. The subsidy package would award the company annual refunds totaling about $287,000 for more than a decade.
Aemestis Inc. released fourth quarter financial results on March 12, reporting increased revenues and progress with the development of its cellulosic ethanol and renewable natural gas (RNG) projects. During an earnings call, Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, said the company has signed participation agreements with 17 dairies for its RNG project. The company has also built and tested two dairy lagoon digesters, and has designed and permitted a 4-mile pipeline that is now under construction to connect the dairy digesters to its corn ethanol plant in Keyes, California. The RNG project is currently expected to begin generating revenue for Aemetis during the second quarter of this year. According to McAfee, the company plans to complete construction of the next 15 digesters by the end of 2021.
McAfee also provided an update of the company’s proposed 12 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Riverbank, California, that will employ LanzaTech gas microbe ethanol production technology. Last year, Aemetis signed three significant financings related to the Riverbank project, including a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commision, a $12.5 million tax waiver that offsets equity funding required for the project, and the signing of a $125 million United States Department of Agriculture conditional commitment letter for a 20-year debt financing under the 9003 biorefinery program, according to McAfee. Currently, he said the company is focused on completing engineering of the plant required for the negotiation of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. McAfee said financial closing to being construction of the Riverbank plant is dependent on completing the engineering and procurement work required for the signing of the construction contract. During the call, McAfee also described several upgrades that are being made to the company’s Keyes ethanol plant. One upgrade involves the development of a carbon dioxide liquification plant by Linde Gas adjacent to the Keyes plant. McAfee said construction on the CO2 capture equipment and piping for the Keyes plant was complete in January. Once the project becomes fully operational in the second quarter, the new liquification plant is expected to convert approximately 150,000 tons per year of CO2 produced by the Keyes plant into liquid CO2 for sale to local food processors, beverage producers and other industrial users.
The Keyes plant is also adding a Mitsubishi membrane dehydration system to the Keyes plant. That dehydration unit was delivered to the Keyes plant in late February, McAfee said, and is currently being installed. Aemetis is also working to add a solar microarray, high-efficiency heat exchanger, and mechanical vapor recompression system to the Keyes plant. Aemetis also operates a biodiesel plant in India. The company reported revenues of $52.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, up from $38.8 million for the same period of last year. Gross profit was $5.8 million, compared to a gross loss of $1.9 million. Operating profit was $1 million, compared to an operating loss of $6.7 million reported for the same period of 2018. Net loss attributable to Aemetis was $6.7 million, compared to a net loss of $11.4 million for the fourth quarter of the previous year. For the full year, revenues reached $202 million, up from $171.5 million in 2018. Gross profit was $12.7 million, up from $5.4 million. Operating loss for 2019 reached $4.9 million, compared to an operating loss of $10.9 million for 2018.
Less than 15 months after breaking ground on the project, Blue Diamond Growers recently announced the expansion of its Turlock manufacturing plant is complete. The 52,000 square foot addition to the existing 200,000 square foot facility in town is one of two major expansions for Blue Diamond, a nonprofit grower-owned cooperative and the world’s leading processor and marketer of almonds. The other, in Salida, will be completed in May. The new Turlock expansion increases Blue Diamond’s value-added almond processing capabilities with an automated factory that features state-of-the-art handling, processing and packaging equipment and also provides space for a future manufacturing line to support both current business or new innovations.
The completion of the expansion comes as Blue Diamond celebrates its 110th anniversary and just seven years after its Turlock facility opened. Since 2013, Turlock’s Blue Diamond facility has received a number of accolades, including Food Engineering Magazine’s title of the 2014 Plant of the Year, as well as being named to Boston Consulting Group’s list of the fastest-growing midsize companies in the nation. The company is no stranger to building facilities quickly — Blue Diamond was able to move from groundbreaking to startup for the original plant in just 13 months. At the expansion’s groundbreaking ceremony in January 2019, Blue Diamond President and CEO Mark Jansen said they hoped to get the additional space built quickly due to the company’s rapid growth. Just over a year later, that goal was accomplished.
The new facility will be used specifically to create an integrated almond beverage base line, where, for the first time, everything needed for the product will be manufactured in the same facility. The base for Blue Diamond’s beverage line, Almond Breeze, will be created at the Turlock expansion through a process of blanching, splitting, roasting and grinding the almonds into a buttery paste, which will then be shipped all over the world to be mixed with water and sold as almond milk. Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze production has experienced double digit growth over the last 20 years. In 2018, the brand grew by 14 percent. The original Turlock Blue Diamond facility is already processing about 25 percent more almonds than the company originally thought possible for the plant’s capacity after the company recently added an almond flour line to the mix.
The expansion comes as phase two in a three-phase, 15-year project that began when Blue Diamond purchased 88 acres at the intersection of North Washington and Fulkerth Road in late 2011. Since then, companies like Hilmar Cheese and Valley Milk have made their way into the Turlock Regional Industrial Park, while already-established facilities like United States Cold Storage and Sunnyside Farms are also currently in expansion mode. The second expansion in Salida is the new Bulk 8 Warehouse at the Salida facility that originally opened as an almond receiving station in 1969. Today the 675,000 square foot facility sits on 44 acres and includes a retail nut and gift shop. The new 58,000 square foot bulk storage facility is on schedule to be completed by the end of May, providing an additional 50 million pounds of in-house bulk almond storage capacity in time to receive the 2020 almond harvest. The 65-foot-tall building includes advanced design with an automated gravity fed spiral conveyance system that improves grower delivery efficiency and reduces damage to the almonds. “It is particularly meaningful for Blue Diamond to be able to commemorate our Founders Day today by not only recognizing our humble beginnings 110 years ago, but also celebrating two key growth milestones that help secure our future,” Jansen said. “I couldn’t be more proud that, despite the unprecedented challenges businesses around the world have faced over the past two months, our incredible team has been able to sustain operations as an essential food supplier, while completing these critical expansion projects ahead of schedule to meet customer needs.”
To celebrate the expansions and give back during the coronavirus pandemic, Blue Diamond, along with partners Union Pacific and Sun-Maid Growers of California, committed to a donation match of $50,000 to help support three food banks in northern and central California that are struggling to meet significant demand from local families in need.
Once a symbol of a bygone era, the drive-in movie has come roaring back in the Central Valley spurred on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, its ensuing shutdowns and subsequent desire for safe family outings. Now a local group is committed to bringing the concept to Los Banos and beyond. The Nightlight, a new mobile outdoor drive-in cinema and concert project, launches this weekend at the Los Banos Fairgrounds. Started by two cousins, one a valley native and one who spent his summers here growing up, the idea started when both saw their normal industries paused because of the COVID-19 outbreak. “We were reminiscing about early childhood movie marathon nights and we got an idea to get a drive-in together,” said Los Banos native Gia La Salvia, who is spearheading the project along with cousin Brian Perry.
Drive-in movies returned to Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties last month, with success and sold-out screenings. The Nightlight held an invitation-only preview at the fairgrounds last weekend, and opens it public slate this weekend Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13, with the beloved childhood movie “The Sandlot,” a 1993 coming-of-age classic about a group of friends who spend their summer playing baseball together. La Salvia works as a film producer in London, but when the coronavirus halted normal life and work, she returned to the region. Her cousin, Perry, works in construction in the Bay Area and also saw his work slow down. Together they have engineered a concept using shipping containers, available FM technology and the fairgrounds in Los Banos to recreate the classic drive-in experience.
Supply chains being spread thin or broken entirely by the coronavirus pandemic have brought new scrutiny to inland California’s industrial market. Along with other inland hub markets like the Inland Empire and the Pennsylvania I-78/81 corridor, the Central Valley may benefit from a surge in business inventories and re-shoring spurred by companies’ reactions to the coronavirus, CBRE concluded in a recent report. Courtesy of CBRE Eastgate Business Park in Tracy, Calif. As more manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers opt to store materials and inventories closer to consumers, space for all those goods is in high demand.
Suppliers will likely gravitate toward inland markets as opposed to space-limited and expensive seaport-adjacent markets, according to CBRE, which also points to e-commerce’s continued growth as another likely boon for the sector. “It’s really securitization of the supply chain and avoiding supply chain disruption,” said CBRE Executive Vice President Thomas Davis, who leads the company’s Central Valley Industrial Practice group. “It has performed very well, and we expect it to perform very well going forward,” Davis said of the Central Valley’s industrial CRE market. In its report, CBRE said the pandemic has highlighted how quickly issues can arise with just-in-time production networks, reversing a decades-long downward trend in inventory-to-sales ratios. Such a reversal could cause industrial demand to surge in inland hub markets, CBRE Research said, projecting a 5% increase in business inventories that require 400M to 500M more SF of warehouse space.
Last month, Colliers International Senior Vice President Gregory Healy, an expert in location strategy and supply chains, said he expects a push for supply chain resilience to result in demands for 750M SF to 1B SF of industrial space in the U.S. alone. Central Valley industrial CRE is likely moving forward from an already strong starting point. As in Southern California’s industrial markets, the region has continued to see deal flow despite the pandemic, Lee & Associates Senior Vice President and Central Valley industrial broker Jim Martin said. Leasing and investment sales have stayed on track, according to Martin, who said he thinks there will probably be an increase in warehouse and distribution in the region as companies look to increase inventories. “The Central Valley will continue to see migration/expansion from the Bay Area given the availability of land, labor and transportation,” Martin said in an email. Martin, who just worked with Nearon Enterprises on acquiring the 155K SF Eastgate Business Park in Tracy, California, said deals like that one represent a telling commitment to the Central Valley. That industrial purchase was Nearon’s first in the Central Valley, according to Martin, though Nearon didn’t immediately respond to a request for confirmation.
BAKERSFIELD, California, May 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. (OTC: GCEH) announced that on May 7, 2020, through a subsidiary, it purchased Alon Bakersfield Properties, Inc., a subsidiary of Delek US Holdings, Inc. and the owner of the Alon Bakersfield Refinery. The total cash consideration paid to Delek US Holdings for the purchase was $40 million.
Alon Bakersfield Refinery is an existing oil refinery located in Bakersfield, California. Historically, the refinery has produced diesel from crude oil. GCEH will immediately commence retooling the refinery to produce renewable diesel from organic feedstocks such as vegetable oils. The facility, when repurposed as a renewable fuels refinery, will vertically integrate to produce renewable diesel from various feedstocks, including GCEH’s patented proprietary fallow land crop varieties of camelina. Traditionally, grown in rotation with wheat, camelina is cultivated as an alternative to fallow so as not to displace or compete with food crops. The balance of feedstock will be provided from various non-petroleum renewable feedstocks, such as used cooking oil, soybean oil, distillers’ corn oil, and others.
No petroleum processing of any kind will occur hereafter at the refinery, either during or following the retooling effort. Instead, the refinery will be repurposed to become a producer of low-carbon renewable fuels that meet the needs of the California Low Carbon Fuels Standard. Fuels produced from the facility will result in significant reductions of both greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and local air pollutants like particulate matter. The retooling is expected to take between 18 to 20 months to complete, with the primary work being conducted by union trades through a local Bakersfield EPC contractor, ARB, Inc., a Primoris Services Corp subsidiary (NASDAQ: PRIM). As an existing oil refinery, the refinery already has a significant portion of the necessary equipment in place for the production of renewable diesel. An estimated 100 union tradesmen from a diverse variety of crafts will be used to conduct a full turnaround and refurbishment of the necessary equipment to produce renewable diesel. Following startup, currently anticipated to be in late 2021, the repurposed refinery is expected to supply a meaningful portion of the demand for clean-burning alternative diesel fuels in California.
GCEH also announced that it has entered into two credit facilities to finance the work to be provided by ARB, Inc. and other construction companies, the clean-up of the site, the facilities’ operating costs, and other project costs during the construction and initial post-construction periods. Strategically located in Bakersfield within a large regional demand center, and only a short distance from the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the San Francisco Bay Area, fuels produced at the site will be available to be blended into the California transportation fuel mix. The blended fuel will reduce the overall GHG emissions and other harmful local pollutants in the San Joaquin Valley and elsewhere in California. GCEH’s plan is to have the renewable fuels that are produced at the facility sold to, and thereafter, marketed and distributed through various partnerships, including one with a multi-national oil major.
Richard Palmer, Chief Executive Officer of Global Clean Energy Holdings, commented, “We are thrilled to announce this exciting new venture in Bakersfield, California; a venture that leverages the region’s core competencies in agriculture and both traditional and alternative energy.” Mr. Palmer added, “we expect that this project will be a catalyst for economic development and will generate both direct and indirect job opportunities in Kern County and the region.”
Certain matters discussed in this press release are “forward-looking statements” of Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. (herein referred to as “GCEH,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) as that term is defined under the federal securities laws. We may, in some cases, use terms such as “believes,” “potential,” “continue,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to the success and timing of the activities required to retool the Bakersfield refinery, the sufficiency of the funding available under the two credit facilities to complete the retooling and the startup of the Refinery, the cost and availability of feedstocks to be used in the repurposed renewable fuels refinery, general economic and business conditions, and other risks described in GCEH’s filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking information is based on information available at the time and/or management’s good faith belief with respect to future events and is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements. GCEH undertakes no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur, or which GCEH becomes aware of, after the date hereof, except as required by applicable law or regulation.