H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies Unveils SoHyCal, the First Operational Green Hydrogen Plant in North America

Fresno, Calif. (November 1) – H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies, Inc. (H2B2), a global vertically integrated provider of green hydrogen energy solutions across the hydrogen value chain, today unveils SoHyCal – the largest operational green hydrogen production plant powered entirely by renewable energy in North America to date.

This pioneering project, from both a technical and commercial point of view, consists of the construction, financing, and operation of a 100% renewable hydrogen production plant with PEM technology, with a nameplate capacity of up to three tons per day, using renewable energy from a photovoltaic plant.

“In the quest for a greener energy transition, SoHyCal represents a cornerstone in California’s commitment to developing and promoting clean and sustainable hydrogen fuel technologies. The project is poised to significantly contribute to the surging demand for hydrogen, particularly for transportation applications, the reduction of emissions, and the decarbonization in mobility,” said Pedro Pajares, CEO of H2B2 USA.

SoHyCal Production and Scale

SoHyCal is fully operational in its first phase, harnessing the power of renewable energy and cutting-edge electrolysis technology, producing up to one ton per day of green hydrogen powered by biogas It will transition into solar energy in phase two, expected to produce a total of three tons per day of green hydrogen powered by PV by Q2 of 2025. This amount of hydrogen will fuel up to 210,000 cars per year or 30,000 city buses.

SoHyCal Background

H2B2 secured a $3.96M grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) Clean Transportation Program for the SoHyCal project. This grant has been instrumental in supporting the production of up to one ton (1t) per day of 100% emission-free hydrogen to serve Hydrogen Refueling Stations in the San Joaquin Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Fresno County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has also been a key partner in making the SoHyCal project a reality, playing a pivotal role in facilitating H2B2’s journey toward building the largest green hydrogen production facility in the United States. H2B2 is a proud member and supporter of The Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES), with SoHyCal an example of the type of projects the hub can promote.

H2B2’s SoHyCal Project was recognized by the Hydrogen Valley Platform (H2V), the global collaboration platform for all information on large-scale hydrogen flagship projects, as a project that aims to facilitate a clean energy transition by promoting the emergence of integrated hydrogen projects along the value chain as well as by raising awareness among policymakers.

H2B2 Powering the Hydrogen Economy

The green hydrogen market is viewed as having significant potential, with forecasts indicating it could reach a value of $10T by 2030. This growth is expected to be driven by various sectors, including industrial use, mobility, power generation, and more. H2B2 is accepting government grants and public funding as a unique offering of project guarantees (PG) setting H2B2 apart, and instilling confidence in their investors and customers alike.

H2B2 operates within a regulatory framework aligned with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and complies with various federal, state, and local regulations and requirements. This regulatory framework plays a crucial role in shaping their operations and growth.

To learn more about H2B2, the SoHyCal facility, or get an up-close look at the advances in technology and processes behind renewable hydrogen production, visit their website or follow them on LinkedIn. H2B2 will consider scheduling facility tours of the SoHyCal plant to select organizations with industry interest; contact them at: info@h2b2.es

About H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies

H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies is a global green hydrogen platform that provides bespoke integrated solutions to its customers across the whole hydrogen value chain and covering all business scales. H2B2’s customer-centric, one-stop-shop offering enables seamless and effective support through the entire lifecycle of a hydrogen production facility (including the identification of the opportunity, R&D, design, permitting, construction, and operation services for the exploitation of the hydrogen facility), and complete solutions for transportation, storage, and sale of green hydrogen.

https://www.h2b2.es/h2b2-electrolysis-technologies-unveils-sohycal-the-first-operational-green-hydrogen-plant-in-north-america/

$7.4M grant brings electric bikes to Stockton. Here’s how, where to rent one

If you’re out and about in Stockton, you may see one of the new 105 pedal-assisted electric bikes that are now available for public transportation. The city’s new electric bike-share program — made possible by a $7.4 million grant awarded to the San Joaquin Council of Governments from the state’s Sustainable Transportation Equity Project — launched last Saturday with a Rise ‘N’ Ride event at University of the Pacific. Olivia Mitchell, a sophomore at Pacific, smiled as she tested an e-bike near the university’s William Knox Memorial Library during the launch event.

“I don’t drive, so transportation can be a really big issue for me trying to get to campus,” Mitchell said. “This could help me get to campus and it could also help me get off campus to explore Stockton.”

The program is intended to help Stocktonians like Mitchell get around the city in a clean and cost-effective way.

“I think having more transportation options is really important, especially affordable transportation options,” said Tyler Madell, a program manager for Shared Mobility. Along with SJCOG, Madell has led the planning of Stockton’s electric bike-share program since 2020.

How to rent an e-bike in Stockton

It costs 15 cents per minute to ride an e-bike, according to Bike Stockton’s website. Residents also have the option to sign up for an annual membership priced at $40 per year. The membership includes up to 30 minutes of free ride time per day and a discounted rate of 5 cents per minute after the initial 30 minutes.

“A big thing for us is making these programs affordable across the board. You know, having really affordable rates to make sure people can use these services regularly in the community, whether it’s for running errands or going to work, or even riding recreationally,” Madell said. “Stockton is a very car-centric city as we know … this is an effort to kind of move away from that and create more options for residents.”

Matthew Amen, a Yosemite Street Village neighborhood resident, said he is an advocate for eco-friendly travel, and often uses alternatives to driving a car.

“I have a very urban mentality. Even though I’m from Stockton, I’ve lived in major cities and I love the fact that you can be in a space where you don’t need a car,” Amen said. “I’m looking forward to being able to utilize these bikes to get to where I need to go. From an economic standpoint, it’s a great way to experience the beauty of the city.”Those who are interested in renting an e-bike must download the Bike Stockton app, create an account, and scan a QR code for the e-bike to unlock.

Where to find the e-bikes in Stockton

The e-bikes can be found at five hubs located around the city:

  • DeCarli Plaza
  • Downtown Transit Center
  • Miracle Mile
  • University of the Pacific
  • Yosemite Street Village

The locations of the hubs were determined through community input and connectivity to transit, said Christine Corrales, senior regional planner for SJCOG.

“A key piece when it came to locating the hubs was thinking about how much access residents could have to the sites. For example, it’s ideal to place the bikes in locations that are not gated off to enable 24-hour access,” Corrales said. “We’re also trying to make sure that we can reach as many people as possible, so ideal places are places where there are lots of residents who live in the vicinity, and who can benefit from these services.”

While most of the hubs are located in central Stockton and the downtown area, Corrales said the goal is to expand to south Stockton in the next three to six months.

https://www.recordnet.com/story/business/transportation/2023/04/03/stockton-launches-new-bike-share-program/70073102007/

Standalone battery energy storage coming to eastern Kern

A battery project coming to eastern Kern will be just the third in the county’s large and diverse energy portfolio to provide lithium electricity storage on a standalone basis, apart from photovoltaic solar panels. Dallas-based Leeward Renewable Energy’s 126,000-megawatt Antelope Valley BESS, for battery energy storage system, will be sited between two PV solar projects it already owns and operates. It is expected to deliver more than 500 megawatt-hours of power during peak demand, enough for 100,000 homes for four hours after the sun goes down.

Leeward recently announced it has signed a 15-year agreement to provide power from the project to Southern California Edison. Construction is expected to be complete in early 2024. Leeward said it is the company’s first standalone battery energy storage project, designed to support resiliency and reliability of the state power grid while meeting the most stringent safety requirements.

“We are proud to partner with Southern California Edison to help meet California’s zero-carbon goals and facilitate the transition to a cleaner and more reliable power grid that will directly address the urgent need for energy capacity in the state,” Leeward’s chief commercial officer, Eran Mahrer, said in a news release last month. “LRE looks forward to our continued long-term partnership with SCE, the county and the community as we develop and operate Antelope Valley BESS.”

The project is to be built adjacent to Leeward’s 100-megawatt Rabbitbrush solar-plus-storage project, and next to its 174-megawatt Chapparal Springs project providing electrical generation and storage. Leeward said the projects demonstrate its commitment to be a long-term partner with the community on employment and other economic benefits, as well as protections and enhancements for the community and the environment. The county’s top energy permitting official, Director Lorelei Oviatt of the Planning and Natural Resources Department, said the project is part of “the new frontier, which is lithium batteries.”

She noted the state puts limitations on standalone battery energy storage projects, usually insisting they be paired with a solar generation facility. Oviatt noted the project will pay its full property taxes, unlike PV solar projects, which enjoy a large exemption from such taxes in California. It will pay almost as much in property taxes as an Amazon fulfillment center, she noted. The county Board of Supervisors encourages such investments, Oviatt added, saying, “We certainly would like to have more of them.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/standalone-battery-energy-storage-coming-to-eastern-kern/article_6dce956a-1ce4-11ee-a28c-e3b31a29faf8.html

Hydrogen-fueled airplane lands, makes home in Mojave

The Mojave Air & Space Port has found a renewable-energy tenant that appears to fit neatly within the facility’s history of aerospace innovation. Hawthorne-based Universal Hydrogen Co. uses hydrogen fuel cell technology to help power a modified 40-passenger regional airliner. It recently put the concept to work in flying one it calls “Lightning McClean” south from Moses Lake, Wash. An announcement Friday that the company will move flight tests of its zero-emission drivetrain technology to eastern Kern is expected to boost Mojave’s reputation as a place where aviation feats never before achieved are able to take wing.

“Bringing Universal Hydrogen to the Mojave Air & Space Port is a big win for us and the local community,” the air and space port’s general manager, Tim Reid, said in a news release heralding the company’s arrival in Mojave.

“With their research and development,” he added, “Universal Hydrogen’s technology will be a total game changer for zero emissions flight within the next decade, meeting the environmental goals of California while advancing the industry with a new, sustainable energy source.”

The company said its De Havilland Canada DHC-8 airliner is powered on one side by a renewable-hydrogen fuel powertrain. During the first four legs of the 800-mile trip from Washington, the fuel cell was throttled down after takeoff. But on the final portion, hydrogen was used for the duration of the more than one-hour flight, marking “the longest flight by a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain to date.” Universal Hydrogen plans to launch commercial service by late 2025. Along with that, it has a goal of certifying a powertrain conversion kit for retrofitting existing regional aircraft to fly on hydrogen fuel. Its idea is to transport renewable hydrogen from production sites by putting it in modular capsules and moving it along existing freight networks.

Earlier this year the company notched an initial, successful flight test. It was followed by four additional tests. During its second test flight, Universal Hydrogen reported, its aircraft flew for 30 minutes at 170 knots, reaching an altitude of 5,000 feet. Then, on June 12, the company said it reached 10,000 feet. The company’s news release Friday said moving its flight testing regimen to Mojave “will allow the company to take advantage of a strong engineering talent pool in Mojave as well as nearby Los Angeles.” Universal Hydrogen has been awarded a $5 million development grant from the California Office of Business Development.

Aviation is seen as one of the toughest industries to decarbonize. But in the company’s news release, California Energy Commission Chairman David Hochschild expressed hope, stating that Universal Hydrogen “is proving that true zero emission is achievable” using hydrogen as airplane fuel.

Plus, he said it’s good for the local economy.

“Basing their test flight operations in Mojave will supercharge a site of significant aviation and space history, and create good-paying jobs for Californians as we ramp up our efforts to combat climate change,” Hochschild stated.

The Mojave Air & Space Port opened in 1935 and has since established itself as a hub of aviation innovation. In 1986, the Rutan Model 76 Voyager became the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping to refuel after taking off from the facility. Among other success stories originating there was that of SpaceShipOne, a pioneering craft whose launch from the port in 2004 was seen as an important step toward privately funded human spaceflight.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/hydrogen-fueled-airplane-lands-makes-home-in-mojave/article_b004cf48-1ad3-11ee-8507-737467060b93.html

Electric truck stop near Bakersfield gearing up for 31 chargers by January

Kern County’s first all-electric truck stop is on track to open 31 charging stations this year — about half of them to be powered by solar panels on-site, the head of the Long Beach company behind the project announced Thursday. WattEV founder and CEO Salim Youssefzadeh said the 110-acre site 2 miles north of Merle Haggard Drive along Highway 65 will be one of four charging stations operational by the end of this year in Bakersfield, Gardena, Long Beach and San Bernardino. The one along Highway 65 is expected to be the largest, with the most charging capacity, because of the availability of surrounding land. WattEV expects to open more stations next year along Highway 65 and Interstate 5, extending the company’s reach as far north as Sacramento.

Funded mostly by private investment but subsidized by about $60 million in state and federal grants, the project serves California’s goals of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 while also cutting a primary source of particulate air pollution in the Central Valley. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has voiced support for the project, saying in 2021 it “recognizes the importance of zero and near zero transportation projects in the valley and the potential for battery electric medium and heavy-duty trucks to create significant reductions in criteria air pollutant emissions.”

The company aims to deliver more than just battery-charging services: Its all-inclusive, trucking-as-a-service business model is designed to reduce carriers’ financial risk by setting a monthly rate for providing and refueling delivery trucks. Youssefzadeh said WattEV has purchased 14 Nikola electric trucks and has 87 Volvos on order to serve customers by January. Trucks not owned by WattEV will also be able to charge up at the station.

How fast the company scales up will be determined on demand for its services, he said — and things look good so far, given distribution centers’ and trucking companies’ environmental and sustainability targets.

“We’re definitely seeing a lot of demand and interest, shippers as well as the carriers,” Youssefzadeh said.

They’re interested in the technology, “but they don’t necessarily want to deal with the unknowns, for the upfront costs of the infrastructure or the truck.”

WattEV expects to offer a kind of valet service at some of its stations: Drivers would drive to the truck stop in their own car, get into a fully charged rig parked at the site, then return later to drop it off for the night and drive home in their own car. The site along Highway 65 is planned to open with 5 megawatts of solar served by a 2-megawatt-hour battery storage system, Youssefzadeh said. Initially, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will provide the property 640 kilowatts of power, to be upgraded to 7 megawatts. Eventually the property will generate and use 25 megawatts of solar power, he said. By year’s end, he said, there are to be 16 360-kilowatt chargers served by PG&E, and 15 240-kilowatt chargers powered by on-site solar. Charging a truck will initially take between two and three hours, he said, until the facility becomes certified on a megawatt-charger, when trucks can be fully charged in 30 minutes.

Next year’s infrastructure expansion is expected to bring more charging sites to Kern County and elsewhere around the valley. Youssefzadeh said additional stations will be added later to serve trucks traveling along Interstate 10 as far as Arizona and Mexico

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/electric-truck-stop-near-bakersfield-gearing-up-for-31-chargers-by-january/article_21f51420-1c58-11ee-8972-3bbd8a18a1b6.html

Solar energy project extending onto Edwards Air Force Base becomes Kern’s largest

A new solar energy project combining almost 2 million photovoltaic arrays with more than 120,000 batteries has become the largest installation of its kind in Kern County. The $2 billion Edwards Sanborn Solar and Energy Storage Project, 57 percent of which is located on the northwest corner of Edwards Air Force Base, began generating 807 megawatts of electricity late last year for clients including every Starbucks location in Southern California. A ribbon-cutting took place last week at the military base east of Rosamond.

When the project’s energy storage component comes fully online later this year, it will be capable of delivering 3,287 megawatt-hours for a total interconnection capacity of 1,300 megawatts, according to the project’s New York-based developer, Terra-Gen Inc. The project stands out as the biggest in a county known for its extensive solar-power assets. The second-largest, according to Director Lorelei Oviatt of the Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Department, is the battery-less Berkshire Hathaway Energy Solar Star straddling Kern and Los Angeles counties.

“Only in America, can we take barren land, embrace the power of the sun and create an engineering marvel,” Brig. Gen. William Kale, Air Force Civil Engineer Center commander, said in a news release. “So, take the time to reflect, see the great work that was done and understand the significance of this project and what it can lead to. Hopefully, this is just the spark.”

The military base will not receive power from the project, but it will benefit from added power-grid resiliency expected to reduce the area’s risk of blackouts of brownouts, said Vice President Simon Day, head of solar development for Terra-Gen.

The U.S. Air Force will also receive almost $76 million in lease revenue after signing in November 2018 what’s known as an enhanced-use lease covering 2,600 acres classified as under-utilized at the base. The project’s other 2,000 acres are situated on land owned by Terra-Gen north of the base.

Day said that, during the 35-year term of the lease, the project will pay $135 million in property taxes. That does not include $22 million in sales taxes paid to Kern County or $11 million in sales taxes paid to the state.

Not all of the 17 entities receiving energy from the project have been disclosed. But besides Starbucks, Day said, buyers include a well-known grocery store chain, the city of San Jose, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and the Clean Power Alliance, which provides renewable energy to customers in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Construction on the project employed 890 union workers paid wages totaling $315 million during a period of about two years, Day said. He noted that not one reportable safety incident took place during the more than 1 million construction hours involved.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/solar-energy-project-extending-onto-edwards-air-force-base-becomes-kern-s-largest/article_71b009b0-a800-11ed-ab92-1f26b22d6482.html

Solar energy project extending onto Edwards Air Force Base becomes Kern’s largest

A new solar energy project combining almost 2 million photovoltaic arrays with more than 120,000 batteries has become the largest installation of its kind in Kern County. The $2 billion Edwards Sanborn Solar and Energy Storage Project, 57 percent of which is located on the northwest corner of Edwards Air Force Base, began generating 807 megawatts of electricity late last year for clients including every Starbucks location in Southern California. A ribbon-cutting took place last week at the military base east of Rosamond.

When the project’s energy storage component comes fully online later this year, it will be capable of delivering 3,287 megawatt-hours for a total interconnection capacity of 1,300 megawatts, according to the project’s New York-based developer, Terra-Gen Inc. The project stands out as the biggest in a county known for its extensive solar-power assets. The second-largest, according to Director Lorelei Oviatt of the Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Department, is the battery-less Berkshire Hathaway Energy Solar Star straddling Kern and Los Angeles counties.

“Only in America, can we take barren land, embrace the power of the sun and create an engineering marvel,” Brig. Gen. William Kale, Air Force Civil Engineer Center commander, said in a news release. “So, take the time to reflect, see the great work that was done and understand the significance of this project and what it can lead to. Hopefully, this is just the spark.”

The military base will not receive power from the project, but it will benefit from added power-grid resiliency expected to reduce the area’s risk of blackouts of brownouts, said Vice President Simon Day, head of solar development for Terra-Gen. The U.S. Air Force will also receive almost $76 million in lease revenue after signing in November 2018 what’s known as an enhanced-use lease covering 2,600 acres classified as under-utilized at the base. The project’s other 2,000 acres are situated on land owned by Terra-Gen north of the base.

Day said that, during the 35-year term of the lease, the project will pay $135 million in property taxes. That does not include $22 million in sales taxes paid to Kern County or $11 million in sales taxes paid to the state.

Not all of the 17 entities receiving energy from the project have been disclosed. But besides Starbucks, Day said, buyers include a well-known grocery store chain, the city of San Jose, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and the Clean Power Alliance, which provides renewable energy to customers in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Construction on the project employed 890 union workers paid wages totaling $315 million during a period of about two years, Day said. He noted that not one reportable safety incident took place during the more than 1 million construction hours involved. He noted Terra-Gen has almost three dozen operations and maintenance staff stationed in Mojave.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/solar-energy-project-extending-onto-edwards-air-force-base-becomes-kern-s-largest/article_71b009b0-a800-11ed-ab92-1f26b22d6482.html

Kern Community College District unveils California Renewable Energy Laboratory

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Local officials and educators celebrated Wednesday the creation of the California Renewable Energy Laboratory. The facility is made possible through $50 million in state funding, which Assemblymember Rudy Salas says he secured in the latest budget. Local educators say the facility will put the Kern Community College District in a position to lead the way in terms of technology development and workforce training. The energy lab’s purpose, in part, is to develop a framework to keep cutting edge, high paying jobs in Kern County. The facility will include centers of excellence for carbon management, microgrid technology and clean transportation.

https://www.kget.com/news/local-news/kern-community-college-district-unveils-california-renewable-energy-laboratory/

How ‘solar canals’ could help California reach sustainable energy goals

TURLOCK, Calif. — Amid intense heat waves that strained the California energy system this month, attention has been placed on efforts to build on renewable energy in the country’s most populous state. At the state level, California is gradually taking steps to run on carbon-free electricity by 2045, and legislation pushing for that calls on retail and state-run electricity sold to come from renewable sources. The transition has reached the automotive industry, with recent legislation pushing for more electric vehicles to be sold and the slow phasing out of sales of gasoline-powered cars. Large investments in clean energy infrastructure will be needed to meet California’s renewable energy goals, but some, like the state’s oldest irrigation district, are getting creative in how to get there. Irrigation districts are tasked with the distribution and management of water that has beneficial uses like agriculture or drinking.

Last year, a study published in Nature Sustainability by researchers from University of California at Santa Cruz along with UC Merced found that it may be possible to tap into the network of public water delivery canals as a way to both conserve water and advance the state’s renewable energy efforts. The researchers studied the concept of “solar canals,” which includes assembling a canopy of solar panels to prevent evaporation while also generating electric energy. The idea is being put to the test in an experiment called Project Nexus. Brandi McKuin, the lead researcher on the study and current assistant project scientist at UC Merced, said the amount of evaporation from canals in California varies by location and time of year. Placing solar panels over the water channels would not only help reduce a percentage of evaporation, but could also boost energy production, she said, since water cools slower than land.

For now, Project Nexus is starting small and is mainly a test of whether the research can hold true in practice, McKuin said. But the project views the state’s canals as a gold mine for not just energy, but information that can inform future energy projects. Those involved are going in with more questions than answers. The research suggests that covering all of California’s canals – spanning roughly 4,000 miles – with solar panels could save up to 63 billion gallons of water and generate 13 gigawatts of renewable power annually. One gigawatt is equal to the energy consumption of 100 million LEDs, or as others put it, enough to power 750,000 homes.

Other benefits include reducing weed growth in the canals and replacing diesel-powered irrigation pumps with solar-powered engines, which lessens the impact on air quality from nitrogen oxide and tiny particulate matter given off by the diesel pumps. While the solar canal idea is new for the region, it’s a sign that “out-of-the-box” ideas are worth exploring to meet the state’s renewable energy capacity, McKuin said. But she said more research is needed, as well as policy, to drive new types of solutions. “There isn’t a single silver bullet solution to our water crisis,” McKuin told the PBS NewsHour. “California is facing a challenging water future, and it’s our job as researchers to find solutions wherever we can, and solar canals is just one of the solutions that can contribute to drought resilience for the state.” The project has a $20 million backing in the state’s current budget, and construction is expected to be completed in 2023.

Eye on local, statewide benefits

The idea of solar canals struck a chord with the Turlock Irrigation District, which operates about 90 miles north of Fresno. The agency provides both water and electricity – a rare operation in the state. mMost irrigation districts just deliver seasonal water to farms and communities, but the Turlock Irrigation District is one of eight “electric balancing authorities” in the state, which help maintain “consistent electric frequency” of the grid, according to the California Energy Commission. The Turlock district’s venture into electric utility began in 1923 after the Don Pedro Dam was built at the Don Pedro Reservoir in the foothills east of the city of Turlock, giving the district an opportunity to generate its own electricity. The following year, the district supported more than 3,000 customers with electricity. Today, nearly 250,000 customers are provided electricity by the district.

The largest balancing authority in California is the Independent System Operator, providing 80 percent of the state’s power load. During the heat wave in early September, which brought record triple-digit temperatures to much of the West, the California ISO issued a Flex Alert to cellphones calling on consumers to conserve energy by shutting down appliances in order to avert an energy shortage. mThe Turlock Irrigation District also saw historic energy peaks, but it did not issue similar urgent calls to conserve energy, said Josh Weimer, a spokesperson for the district, mainly because the district has been able to carefully manage its own water and power distribution, as it has always done in its 135-year history.

However, in recent years, the district, like many other agencies, has had to reconsider how much water it is able to deliver to its customers as it faces the increasing challenges of drought and heat. Sustained drought in the West has led to dwindling water supply in recent years, leaving key reservoirs like Lake Mead at historically low levels. The growing uncertainties that come with climate change are hitting in many places and pose tough questions about California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack, where the irrigation district’s water begins to form. Forecasts suggest the Sierra will have less snowpack in coming years due to the effects of greenhouse emissions, and rainstorms have the potential to be wetter than usual. Those events could have effects downstream for communities. “We’re not left out of being impacted by a change in climate and multi-year consecutive drought,” Weimer told the NewsHour.

It’s why the idea of placing solar panels over roughly two miles of its more than 250 miles of canals in the middle of California seemed worth exploring, Weimer said. His district could use more water to grow walnuts, peaches and almonds and feed its dairy industry in addition to examining an idea that could potentially improve the district and state’s energy supply. And though the district will be the first in the nation to jump into the solar canals idea, “it’s worth changing the status quo and how we operate our system because of the potential benefit,” Weimer said. The solar canal study suggests conserving water in the canals could reduce groundwater pumping and lead to fewer deserted fields due to water shortages. Communities in the San Joaquin Valley have routinely dealt with unreliable water supply from drought and over pumping. The state’s Department of Water Resources supports the project, and if the test run at the Turlock Irrigation District is able to produce the intended results, the agency will be a crucial body to extend the project to the state’s water systems. “As California prepares for a possible fourth dry year, the state is excited to examine new ways that will improve water conservation, provide a clean energy resource, and build drought resilience,” Karla Nemeth, director of the Department of Water Resources, said in a statement.

Origins of the idea

Inspiration for placing solar panels over canals came from a similar project in Gujarat, India, in 2014. The developers of Project Nexus and founders of Solar AquaGrid LLC commissioned the study of solar canals with support from Texas-based NRG Energy and Bay Area-based Citizen Group. The India project informed U.S. researchers. Jordan Harris, co-founder and CEO of AquaGrid, said the new solar canals can use 50 percent less raw material than the India project, in addition to allowing for more space around the panels for easy maintenance. Project Nexus will include various solar canopies designed for the shapes and sizes of different canals within the experiment to study the impact of each type of canopy, Harris said.

The Turlock district’s operation as a water and electricity provider gave the founders of AquaGrid extra interest because searching for land to build solar farms can be expensive and difficult. Placing solar panels over existing waterways and property is not only cost-effective but removes the possibility of building on unused land that could negatively impact the environment. Solar farms take up a large area, and sometimes the problem is finding enough space to construct them. “There simply isn’t enough land to build that much solar and wind,” Harris said. “So, the idea of looking at already disturbed space [like] in every rooftop, every parking lot and 4,000 miles of canals and reservoirs, is a huge opportunity to solve problems.”

Ultimately, Harris said he hopes a project like Project Nexus in California’s Central Valley will help reimagine the way people think of canals and other infrastructure in the move toward renewable energy. He added the state’s engineering of thousands of miles of canals that divert water to major cities and industries will have a chance to adapt to the changing climate conditions, if the project were expanded. If California were its own country, it would have the fifth-largest economy in the world, but Harris said such prosperity can’t continue if the environment is ignored. “In our quest to satisfy human needs, we’ve often been irresponsible, and built big cities where there aren’t the natural resources, so we figure out how to bring the resources. I think there’s a way to honor the landscape and the land, and show responsibility and respect, and I think that’s what this type of innovation can do,” Harris said.

 

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/heres-how-californias-canals-could-advance-the-states-renewable-energy-goals

SEE INVESTS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Sealed Air (NYSE: SEE) has invested $9 million in a solar farm that is now powering its Madera, California manufacturing facility. The solar panels, which sit on 11 acres of company-owned land adjacent to the facility, are expected to help reduce energy spend at this site by $1 million annually. The 265,000 square foot plant, which manufactures BUBBLE WRAP® brand original cushioning, SEALED AIR® brand Korrvu® retention and suspension packaging, mailers, and other solutions, will have 98% of its electricity powered by the solar field. “The installation of these solar panels contributes to SEE’s overarching sustainability strategy and advances our transition to net-zero carbon emissions in our operations by 2040. Through these solar panels, we are advancing our use of renewable energy, lessening the energy intensity of operations and reducing the company’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Emile Chammas, SEE’s Chief Operating Officer. “We are on a journey to leave our world better than we find it and the completion of this project is an important milestone in the strategic investments we’re making to achieve that goal.”

SEE partnered with TotalEnergies (which recently acquired SunPower Commercial and Industrial Solutions) to design and install the 3.5-megawatt ground mount solar project, which includes 8,975 solar panels, along with a 770 kW/3,080 kilowatt-hour battery storage system. “TotalEnergies is proud to be SEE’s energy transformation partner as they invest to achieve ambitious sustainability targets,” said Eric Potts, vice president of TotalEnergies Distributed Generation USA. “Renewable energy is a business priority for both of our companies, so we are thrilled that this project will deliver long-term benefits to SEE’s Madera facility while advancing global progress toward carbon neutrality.”

Over the course of the first year, the solar project will help avoid 4,982 metric tons of carbon dioxide and 72,172 metric tons of carbon dioxide over 15 years, which is equivalent to:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from more than 15,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year
  • The carbon dioxide emission from annual electricity use for more than 14,000 homes
  • Carbon sequestered by nearly 1,200,000 tree seedlings grown over the course of a decade

 

About SEE

Sealed Air (NYSE: SEE) is in business to protect, solve critical packaging challenges, and make our world better than we find it. Our automated packaging solutions promote a safer, more resilient, and less wasteful global food supply chain, enable e-commerce, and protect goods transported worldwide. Our globally recognized brands include CRYOVAC® brand food packaging, SEALED AIR® brand protective packaging, AUTOBAG® brand automated systems, BUBBLE WRAP® brand packaging, SEE Automation solutions and prismiq smart packaging and digital printing.

SEE’s Operating Model, together with our industry-leading expertise in materials, engineering and technology, create value through more sustainable, automated, and digitally connected packaging solutions. We are leading the packaging industry in creating a more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable future and have pledged to design or advance 100% of our packaging materials to be recyclable or reusable by 2025, with a bolder goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions in our global operations by 2040. Our Global Impact Report highlights how we are shaping the future of the packaging industry. We are committed to a diverse workforce and caring, inclusive culture through our 2025 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion pledge.

SEE generated $5.5 billion in sales in 2021 and has approximately 16,500 employees who serve customers in 114 countries/territories. To learn more, visit sealedair.com.


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https://www.sealedair.com/company/media-center/press-releases/see-madera-renewable-energy