High Speed Rail crosses 198 | John Lindt

Last week, crews from the California High Speed Rail project worked late night and early morning to place 84 pre-cast concrete girders across Lacey Boulevard and over State Route 198 to extend the Hanford Viaduct over the highway.

Girders ranged between 53 and 78 feet long and weighed as much as 79,000 pounds each.

The Hanford Viaduct spans more than a mile — 6,330 feet long and connects to the future Kings/Tulare Regional High-Speed Rail Station.

Hanford company sells just four cars in 23′

Start-up luxury car maker Faraday Future sold just four cars in the past year, the company reported recently. They leased six more.

The LA-based company has its only manufacturing plant in Hanford. But production at the million-square-feet facility has been slow. Faraday Future is facing delisting from NASDAQ as it looks to maintain its stock value above one dollar.

Adding to woes, Faraday has withdrawn its production guidance for 2024, citing current market conditions and lack of funding. Last November, the company planned to assemble 1,000 vehicles this year, “subject to availability of requisite capital.”

The company filed their annual report late with revenue of $0.8 million for 2023 and cost of goods sold of $43 million, compared with no revenue and cost of goods sold in 2022. This reflects that the company only began delivering vehicles in the third quarter 2023. Loss from operations was $286 million for 2023, as compared to a loss from operations of $437 million for 2022.

Last December Nasdaq notified the company that the bid price of its listed securities had closed at less than $1.00 per share over the previous 30 consecutive business days and, as a result, did not comply with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2). The company was provided 180 calendar days, or until June 25, 2024, to regain compliance with this rule. On April 18, 2024, Nasdaq notified the company that since it had not yet filed its Form 10-K it no longer complied with Listing Rule 5250(c)(1).This deficiency is now an additional basis for delisting. Now that report has been filed.

On April 24, 2024, the company received a letter from Nasdaq indicating that the company was not in compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c), as the company’s securities had a closing bid price of $0.10 or less for ten consecutive trading days. The letter indicated that, as a result, the Nasdaq staff had determined to delist the company’s securities from The Nasdaq Capital Market. On May 1, 2024, the company timely requested a hearing to appeal the Delisting Determination and requested an extended stay of the suspension pending such hearing with the Panel.

Faraday Future stock briefly climbed over a dollar in May for two weeks but, since May 28, has been below that threshold at about 50 cents as of this writing.

Faraday’s future is uncertain.

Williamson Act cancelation bill shelved

A bill in the California Assembly to make it easier for farmers in the Central Valley to cancel their Williamson Act contract due to water shortage had divided the farm community. The California Land Conservation Act of 1965, otherwise known as the Williamson Act, authorizes a city or county to enter into contracts with owners of agricultural land to preserve the land for agricultural use, as specified, in return for reduced property tax assessments.

To preserve farmland, it imposes a 25 percent cancelation fee.

This bill proposed by Fresno Assembly member Joaquin Arambula would authorize a landowner, if their land is located in the counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, or Tulare, with a water basin in condition of critical overdraft, to petition the board or council to cancel a Williamson Act contract or a farmland security zone contract without penalty if the land meets specified criteria, including, among other things, not having permanent access to sufficient water.

That could speed its conversion to energy projects like solar farms and provide income to the land owner.

As of mid-May the bill was placed in the “suspense file” as it did not garner enough support in committee to move forward.

BOS dumps green energy saving project

Kings County Board of Supervisors had been studying making substantial investments in energy savings at the county campus similar to a project that the same supplier had done in past years. The supplier, Engie Energy, promised net savings over $4 million for the county. The County has completed four successful projects with ENGIE  — a $3 million microturbine co-generation project in 2005, an $8.4 million central heating and cooling plant upgrade in 2009, a $4.1 million solar project in 2011, and an $11.9 million solar project in 2020.

This year an earlier staff report noted that the County has been seeing huge increases in its electricity cost recently, as high as 15% per year. They would like its energy consumption to be reduced as much as possible to reduce the effect of utility price hikes.

Also, the HVAC units at many of the facilities are well past their useful lives and the County would like to use this project to replace its old HVAC infrastructure without dipping into the General Fund.

But in late May the staff and board decided not to move forward with the green energy project.

A staff report says, “Essentially, this project is viewed as being cash neutral, providing more of a benefit in the way of allowing the County a vehicle to replace aging infrastructure, not necessarily providing the County with additional cash on hand, due to project savings, that could be used for other County initiatives and priorities. Additionally, the County recently initiated a comprehensive debt analysis which looked at all current and potential future debt, which included this project, to identify the financial health of the County if it were to take on debt for this project.”

At the conclusion of the debt analysis, staff recommended not to incur long-term debt for this project at this time. The Board agreed.

Egg farmers worried about new bird flu

The current avian influenza outbreak is the “greatest threat” to American egg producers, according to United Egg Producers President and CEO Chad Gregory.

“On-farm biosecurity is at its most stringent levels, and despite these robust precautionary measures, the egg industry has lost flocks to [bird flu] in recent weeks,” Gregory said in a statement. This is a sad and difficult time for affected farmers, who must act swiftly to prevent the spread of the disease and go through an extensive recovery process.”

A massive flock of over 4.2 million egg-laying chickens in Iowa was detected to have bird flu last week.

Walnut acreage down 4%

California’s 2023 walnut acreage is estimated at 420,000 acres, with 385,000 acres bearing and 35,000 acres non-bearing. Bearing acreage was down 4% from 2022.

Strong summer outlook as clean energy grows

Elliot Mainzer — California Independent System operator president — says CAISO is in a stronger position heading into the summer compared to previous years. The agency manages the grid and guides energy investment in the Golden State.

CAISO expects its resources will be able to meet forecasted demand plus an 18.5% reserve margin for all summer months, according to its summer assessment. The grid operator anticipates it will have more than 3,500 MW of surplus supplies over forecasted demand plus the reserve margin during key early evening peak net load hours in September, Mainzer said in the memo.


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