Fresno County lands what reportedly will be West Coast’s largest green hydrogen plant

Fresno County will be home to what a New York company says will be the largest green hydrogen production facility on the West Coast. Officials with Plug Power, headquartered in Latham, New York, said in their Monday announcement that the plant — near Mendota — is expected to produce 30 metric tons of liquid green hydrogen daily within about four years.

The facility will use a new 300 megawatt zero-carbon solar farm to power 120 megawatts of Plug Power’s state-of-the-art PEM electrolyzers, which split water into hydrogen and oxygen through an electro-chemical process, the announcement stated. The California plant would join the company’s growing national network of facilities in New York, Tennessee and Georgia that officials say will supply 500 tons per day of liquid green hydrogen by 2025 — replacing, the company states, 4.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 1,000 tons per day globally by 2028.

Work will include construction of a new tertiary wastewater treatment plant in Mendota that will provide recycled water for residents and supply the full needs of the plant. The company hopes to break ground in early 2023 and complete commissioning in early 2024. The company announcement did not specify where the hydrogen plant will be built nor how many people might be hired locally. “The project is a huge win for the city of Mendota, and we are very happy to see this significant investment in clean energy in our community,” Mendota Mayor Rolando Castro said. “This green-hydrogen plant will provide full-time, high-paying jobs for our people. The city will also get a new wastewater treatment plant to provide recycled water for the city and all the needs of the hydrogen plant.”

https://energycentral.com/news/fresno-county-lands-what-reportedly-will-be-west-coasts-largest-green-hydrogen-plant

LATHROP LANDS TESLA MEGA BATTERY PLANT

When Tesla announced that Lathrop would be the site of a plant that manufactures parts for the company’s electric cars in Fremont back in 2014, nobody thought that it would be the beginning of a growing relationship between one of the world’s most closely-followed companies and the growing city. But on Monday the company officially broke ground on a project that will repurpose what was previously a J.C. Penney distribution center for a manufacturing facility for an entirely new product – a massive, trailer-sized battery that will be used not for cars or homes, but to store excess power from the power grid and funnel that power back when it is needed most.

For Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal, the announcement of the manufacturing facility for the Megapack – billed by the company as the largest, densest storage battery in the world – is another feather in the cap for the city. “Lathrop is proud to be the home of the Megafactory, Tesla’s most recent expansion here,” Dhaliwal said. “The future of green energy will be produced right here in our community. “This development means more opportunities for our residents, and a brighter future for our planet.” While the company – known the world over for its electric vehicles – has been in the home power storage space for some time, the Megapack will be different because of the unique role that it will play in promoting a greener world by improving power efficiency.

The storage system aims to “transform the way that utilities manage the power grid” by providing “emissions-free” energy when providers need it most – eliminating the need for traditional fossil fuel power plants that are commonly used to supplement shortages. While the delivery of electricity has become more efficient, the distribution of power across long distances often leads to overall loss – especially since traditional grids don’t have any place for excess power that isn’t needed to be stored. The Megapack solves this problem by allowing energy providers with the chance to store that excess power and send it back into the grid as it is needed – something that the company already does with its home-focused battery system that allows for excess power generated by solar panels to be stored and saved.

The facility in Lathrop will assemble and distribute the Megapack units around to locations around the world – including those that are utilized here in California – and will include over-the-air updates to the operating software for the units to maximize efficiency and continuously improve performance. The announcement in 2014 that Tesla would take over the shuttered Mopar distribution facility along I-5 made headlines around the country as the Silicon Valley company expanded its footprint beyond Fremont where it assembles most of its electric cars. But that was just the beginning for the growing South County city and one of the world’s most recognizable brands.

Tesla has since expanded its initial building’s footprint, and added other space including an 870,000 square foot distribution center behind the old Pilkington glass plant on Louise Avenue. A company that manufactures parts that are used in Tesla vehicles also opened a facility in Lathrop near the original Tesla building to help provide parts that are used in the manufacturing process. And for a time, Lathrop also housed thousands of Tesla vehicles that had been assembled in Fremont and were awaiting shipment to their final destination – renting space at the old Pilkington facility to temporarily stage the vehicles that were dropped off and hauled away by trailer.

According to Bloomberg News, the news that Tesla was expanding its operations in California was a welcome sign for the state after the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, slammed the state’s shutdown efforts early during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently moved to Texas – which is now where the company plans to assemble the Model Y and Cybertruck vehicles. The move to build the Megapack in Lathrop, Bloomberg said, was seen as a sign that California remains a part of the company’s future.

https://www.mantecabulletin.com/news/local-news/lathrop-lands-tesla-mega-battery-plant/

Major energy storage project proposed near Lebec along California Aqueduct

California’s energy future keeps pointing to Kern. The latest 10-figure energy storage proposal in the county is a damlike “pumped hydro” project connected to the California Aqueduct that would store and release 3,500 gigawatt-hours of power per year on or near Tejon Ranch.

There’s no money yet for it or a similar proposal the same Los Angeles County engineering and development group disclosed in December that would be located next to Isabella Lake. But the latter has attracted interest from one of the world’s largest oil producers, the developer’s managing director said. “The market is very active right now,” Victor Rojas at Walnut-based Premium Energy Holdings LLC said. “There is a lot of storage activity investment and the oil companies are very active, too, and they are seizing now, moving into this energy transmission business.” He declined to identify the oil company his firm is talking with but noted the U.S. Department of Energy is interested, too.

Both of Premium’s pumped-storage proposals are engaged in a federal application process that will succeed only if they can secure big investments — probably a mix of public and private money repaid in time by utility ratepayers — for the kind of infrastructure critical to California’s aggressive transition to renewable energy.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/major-energy-storage-project-proposed-near-lebec-along-california-aqueduct/article_fd846a78-1db7-11ec-949b-0b62703c0410.html

Amazon opens in Visalia

Amazon is open and in full operation says the new general manager at the Visalia fulfillment center, Carlos Avelar. The 1.3 million square foot warehouse, the largest in the city, is on Riggin and Kelsey in the Visalia Industrial Park. “We have already hired nearly 1,000 on our way to 1,200 associates” said Avelar, adding they are “bringing on more employees than we originally anticipated.”

The original announcement said 1,000 jobs. Avelar said he moved his family to Visalia in July from Tracy where he had been manager for 2.5 years. ”The Central Valley has special place in my heart,” said Avelar, adding that he is looking forward to an open house soon, inviting local officials, and has already huddled with other industry managers at the industrial park to introduce himself. “We want to be part of the community,” he said.

The Visalia Amazon is different from any other Amazon in the Valley, being a “fulfillment center” that stores goods, mostly larger in size, to be shipped throughout the Valley. The closest similar facility is in Patterson, said Avelar. Within these fulfillment centers, associates pick, pack and ship larger-sized customer items ranging from boxes of diapers to patio umbrellas. “We picked Visalia to be close to our customers,” he said.

The next three months will be the busiest of the year for the big e-retailer says the general manager and at times they may add more than 1,200 to the workforce. Employees’ starting pay is at least $15.50 per hour and benefits including paid time off and dental care. New hires who show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination earn a $100 bonus on their first day. Avelar said employees appreciate the fact Amazon encourages associates to go to college and will pay to make it happen while they work here. Avelar said he “has heard the rumors” that there will be a second Amazon warehouse built in the industrial park — but for now ”it’s just that — a rumor.”

https://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/around-kings-county-amazon-opens-in-visalia/article_78576396-3bbb-5093-a632-bd74476cb549.html

CBRE Global Investors, Trammell Crow to Develop 606,343 SF Logistics Facility in Northern California

CBRE Global Investors has purchased a 29.3-acre site located at 1205 E. Grant Line Road in Tracy for the development of a logistics center. The investment firm will partner with Trammell Crow Co. to develop the 606,343-square-foot facility. Construction is slated to begin in early 2022, with completion scheduled for first quarter 2023.

The distribution facility will feature 40-foot clear heights, 185-foot truck courts, 56-foot by 60-foot column spacing, LED and sky lighting and an ESFR sprinkler system. HPA is serving as architect of record and Big-D Construction is the general contractor.

https://rebusinessonline.com/cbre-global-investors-trammell-crow-to-develop-606343-sf-logistics-facility-in-northern-california/

Faraday Future Expands Global Hiring After Business Combination

Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (“FF”) (NASDAQ: FFIE), a California-based global shared intelligent mobility ecosystem company, today announced plans to increase its employee headcount significantly over the next 12 months following the Business combination closing in July of this year. New hiring will help support the launch of its ultimate intelligent techluxury all electric flagship vehicle FF 91 in 2022.

“We are looking forward to adding a diverse group of innovative, creative and driven people to our rapidly growing team,” said Global CEO of Faraday Future Carsten Breitfeld. “We now have the capability to significantly grow our company with employees passionate about transforming the auto industry and the future of mobility. For the right candidates, an immense amount of opportunity abounds. I welcome talented and passionate applicants who are motivated to help move the company forward together along with the entire FF team.”

Hiring efforts will focus on filling positions in the areas of manufacturing, engineering, supply chain, design, marketing, brand, sales and other areas, along with the potential of higher-level executive positions. These positions are located out of the company’s three California locations including at FF’s headquarters in Los Angeles, tech-focused offices in Silicon Valley, and the FF 91 manufacturing facility in Hanford. FF will soon announce several key operational-focused executives who are expected to join FF soon. FF is also hiring key-positions for its China operations as it gears up to deliver FF vehicles in that market.

https://www.valdostadailytimes.com/news/business/faraday-future-expands-global-hiring-after-business-combination/article_595be0c7-bbfb-5ab0-a151-a160fd7f5d0e.html

Faraday Future’s Ultimate Intelligent Techluxury FF 91 Validates Production Timeline

Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (“FF”) (NASDAQ: FFIE), a California-based global shared intelligent mobility ecosystem company, today announced that it recently completed a 2,270-mile testing and evaluation journey following the historic Route 66, a highway that crosses numerous U.S. states as it winds its way from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California.

Real world vehicle testing and evaluation, which followed FF’s public listing on Nasdaq last month in NYC, put the ultimate intelligent techluxury FF 91 through multiple tests in various conditions including extreme heat through the desert and on multiple road surfaces including various elevations. The completion of this testing and evaluation of the many vehicle systems, including battery and propulsion components during the 2,270-mile journey further validates FF 91 production timeline.

“This testing journey along historic Route 66 allowed us to put FF 91 through many diverse environments and conditions found only in the central and southwest portions of the U.S. and allowed us to capture real world data on FF 91,” said FF Global CEO Dr. Carsten Breitfeld. “FF’s overall testing and validation strategy will ensure best-in-market performance, safety and user confidence, and to make sure the battery, electric propulsion, chassis, suspension and other vehicle systems perform under these harsh conditions, while also ensuring a smooth and comfortable and connected experience with the driver and passengers in the FF 91.”

The long-distance road test that FF conducted is a great opportunity to evaluate FF’s unique third internet living space concept in real usage scenarios before it begins production next year. Dr. Breitfeld, an engineer by trade, had an integral part of the Route 66 testing and drove much of the trip, he also used the rear intelligent internet system and in-car video conference system from the rear-seat to participate in daily FF meetings along the way.

FF 91 is equipped with interior cameras and microphones that support videoconferencing features. When the Rear Seat Display (RSD) is turned on, users can access their contacts through conferencing applications to keep connected with friends, family, or business associates while on the road. The applications will run natively on the in-vehicle computer and be mirrored to the users’ mobile devices for remote control.

During vehicle testing, engineers logged volumes of data on the vehicle’s chassis, thermal, electric propulsion performance, and all vehicle systems. They also optimized software controls performance and calibrations in real world conditions. This critical work is providing some of the final levels of development on FF 91’s systems, as FF advances to the final stages of its program and a timely launch. In the coming months, FF will build additional pre-production FF 91 vehicles for further testing, vehicle development, improvements, and final readiness for launch in 2022.

The FF 91 Futurist Alliance Edition and FF 91 Futurist models represent the next generation of intelligent internet electric vehicle (EV) products. They are high-performance EVs, all-ability cars, and ultimate robotic vehicles, allowing users to experience the third internet living space. The models also encompass extreme technology, an ultimate user experience and a complete ecosystem.

Both models have an industry-leading 1050 horsepower, a 130kWh battery pack with immersive liquid cooling technology and 0-60 mph performance in 2.4 seconds. In addition, both employ tri-motor torque vectoring and rear wheels independently driven and controlled by dual rear motors. Both models are also equipped with the industry‘s only super AP for internet connection at “light speed”, video streaming on the passenger information display, a rear intelligent internet system, an in-car video conferencing system, intelligent seamless entry, FFID face recognition, multi-touch eyes-free control, and zero gravity rear seats with the industry’s largest seating angle of 150 degrees.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/faraday-future-ultimate-intelligent-techluxury-020200076.html

CENTRAL VALLEY WINE PROVES PERFECT AT INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

There’s a lot of good wine out there, but laying claim to a perfect wine is no easy feat. One Central Valley winemaker can do just that with a resounding performance at the Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition.

Madera-based Ficklin Vineyards and winemaker Peter Ficklin took Best of Class and Double Gold awards for the Old Vine Tinta Port. It’s Aged 10 Years Tawny Port received Gold and Aged 15 Years Tawny Port won Silver. “A 100-point wine is a benchmark wine,” says Alexander Peartree, of the Robb Report—a luxury lifestyle magazine. “It represents the pinnacle of the category…the reviewer looks for the intensity of flavor, balance, structure, and longevity.”

A total of 2,900 entries from all over the world were judged in the annual competition. “We are honored to have our Old Vine Tinta Port recognized as a perfect wine by the judges in Sunset’s International Competition, and so proud to be the only wine this year to receive that designation among so many esteemed wines”, said President and Winemaker Peter Ficklin. “Ficklin Vineyards was founded with a commitment to quality and a desire to produce the highest quality Port in the United States.”

Madera’s CRU Winery also took three Gold awards for its 2020 Unoaked Chardonnay, Sarmento Vineyard Pinot Noir and Vineyard Montage, and Silver for its SLH Pinot Noir and Arroyo Seco Chardonnay. Sanger-based Gibson Wine Co. also made a strong showing in the competition, bringing in nearly a dozen medals including Double Gold for its Cream Sherry and Gold for its Port.

Madera’s Idle Hour Winery & Kitchen won Silver for its Late Harvest Viognier. O’Neill Vintners & Distillers in Parlier took a whopping 27 Gold and Silver awards for its entries. Some of the Gold winners include its Charles Woodson’s Intercept Red Blend, Game Box Pinot Grigio and Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc. Ricchiuti Family Farms in Clovis took Silver with its My Italian Cousin – Eugenio. Madera’s San Joaquin Wine Co. earned Silver for its Moody Press Cellars Rose. Toca Madera Winery’s Tempranillo Reserve earned Gold.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/central-valley-wine-proves-perfect-at-international-competition/

Inside the making of ABC’s epic new surfing competition with Kelly Slater

Normally, Lemoore, Calif., might seem a strange place to set a surfing competition. After all, the Kings County burg is 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean. But as it turns out, “normal” is not “The Ultimate Surfer’s” style.

ABC’s new reality competition grew out of a meeting of the minds in early 2019 between world-famous professional surfer Kelly Slater, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan, Pilgrim Media Group CEO and Chair Craig Piligian and UFC President Dana White at Surf Ranch, Slater’s artificial-wave oasis in the Central Valley. Production began in early 2020, only to be shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. When shooting resumed last summer, it was in a COVID-19 “bubble” at the ranch. Now the series’ long-awaited debut has arrived, with a two-night premiere beginning Monday.

Surfer and Times photographer Allen J. Schaben captured exclusive images of the making of “The Ultimate Surfer” last March, before the shutdown, and returned to the ranch earlier this summer to photograph the action at the WSL’s Jeep Surf Ranch Pro, where athletes from around the globe showed off what the ranch can do.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2021-08-23/ultimate-surfer-abc-kelly-slater-surf-ranch

Del Taco Strengthens Presence in Central California With New Multi-Unit Franchise Deal

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ: TACO), the nation’s second largest Mexican quick service restaurant*, announced today a new franchising partnership with Bangars Management, led by Prabh Singh and Mandeep Bangar that will add five new restaurants to the Fresno, Calif market. “We’ve been in the restaurant and retail industry for decades and have seen great success owning and operating scalable QSR restaurants and various convenience stores, particularly in the Central Valley. After months of research, we’ve found that Del Taco is a perfect partner to diversify our portfolio, which is something we’ve wanted to do for quite some time,” says Singh, Vice President of Bangars Management. “Del Taco’s emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients served in a quick and convenient format fits with our standards and ideals and we are thrilled to kick off this partnership.”

Singh and Bangar have more than 35 years of experience in the industry, having worked their way up through the family business ranks to ultimately lead the company which specializes in restaurant foodservice, fuel/convenience and real estate and property development. By partnering with Del Taco on an initial development agreement for five locations, the franchise duo will be the first to bring the brand’s new Fresh Flex look to the Fresno area. “Bangars Management has a proven history of success with owning and operating multiple quick service concepts and leading those concepts to become the top in their category,” said Jeff Little, SVP of Development. “They value their people, love what our fresh quality brand is all about and have a dedication to customer service just as we do at Del Taco, making us the perfect fit for their growing company. We’re proud to have partnered with them and are looking forward to seeing them expand the Del Taco footprint within the Central Valley.”

Del Taco’s unique QSR+ positioning within the Mexican quick-service segment presents great growth potential for experienced multi-unit operators and private equity firms looking to diversify portfolios. With development areas open across the U.S., Del Taco is continuing to seek multi-unit operators who are looking for the opportunity to claim a territory and grow alongside the company.

https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2021/08/31/2289440/0/en/Del-Taco-Strengthens-Presence-in-Central-California-With-New-Multi-Unit-Franchise-Deal.html