MENDOTA TO HOST LARGEST GREEN HYDROGEN PLANT ON WEST COAST

Energy production is nothing new to the Central Valley. Oil production in the San Joaquin Valley boomed after the discovery of “black gold” on the Kern River in 1899. In 2018, the City of Fresno was recognized in a report by the Environment California Research & Policy Center as the U.S. city with the second-highest solar power generating capacity per person. According to the report, the city’s total solar power generation capacity ranked fourth among the state’s big cities ahead of Sacramento, San Francisco and Riverside.

Around 10 years ago, there were proposals from a French company — partnered with California businessmen and farmers — to build a nuclear power plant in Fresno. Those plans eventually fell through. An innovative energy company has announced it will expand to the West Coast with the construction of a new, state-of-the-art hydrogen production facility in Fresno County. Plug Power Inc., headquartered in New York, is a provider of hydrogen fuel cell turnkey solutions. Plug Power plans to build the largest green hydrogen production plant on the West Coast in Mendota.

The facility will use a 300-megawatt, zero-carbon solar farm to power equipment that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen through an electro-chemical process. When fully built, the plant will produce 30 metric tons of liquid green hydrogen, able to service customers from San Diego to Vancouver. In a press release from Plug Power released in late September, local officials including Fresno County Supervisor Brian Pacheco and Lee Ann Eager, president and CEO of Fresno County Economic Development Corporation, praised Plug Power’s expansion to the area. “Green hydrogen represents the energy of the future and with this major announcement, Fresno County will soon plant its flag as the strategic center for California’s hydrogen economy,” Eager said. “This project is poetic justice for our region, which has struggled with persistent poor air quality, and will produce the zero-emission fuel needed to support the state’s renewable energy goals.”

Andy Marsh, president and CEO of Plug Power, joined the company in 2008 and is a prominent voice in the hydrogen and fuel cell industry. Marsh said the company made a commitment to be the first company to build a green hydrogen generation network across the U.S., and with California having one of the highest populations in the state — and with its aggressive environmental policies — it made sense to build here.

Plug Power’s California plant will join the company’s network of plants in New York, Tennessee and Georgia that will supply 500 tons per day of liquid green hydrogen by 2025. The plant in Mendota will cover about 20 acres. The plant will eventually expand beyond those 20 acres. “The solar farms want the plants to use their solar, and in an area like California there is going to be a lot of solar farms,” Marsh said. “In an area like the Central Valley with lots of solar, we are not going to be the only company to wants to come in and build a hydrogen plant. There will be other companies that follow us.”

Once the plant is constructed, Marsh said the company will be looking to provide hydrogen for trucks, fuel cells for forklift trucks, industrial applications, and putting hydrogen into natural gas pipelines. While there is discussion for the application of hydrogen fuel in the ag industry, Marsh said the technology is not as applicable in that arena yet. Currently, Marsh said places such as distribution centers, airports, seaports and other places where there a lot of vehicles going back and forth will be using a lot of hydrogen.

The environmental review for the plant is expected to be approved by the early 2023, with construction starting then. It is expected to be up and running in early 2024. The project will include construction of a new tertiary wastewater treatment plant in the City of Mendota, providing water for the community and supplying the full needs of the hydrogen plant.

Once in operations, there will be around 60 to 75 employees to start with, with those numbers eventually ramping up. Some of the jobs will include a plant manager, engineers, facility technicians, and truck drivers. “Hydrogen is part of California’s and the world’s efforts to reduce Co2 emissions, Plug Power has been doing it for 25 years and we are building out the first green hydrogen network for the United States and we are thrilled to be in the Central Valley,” Marsh said.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/mendota-to-host-largest-green-hydrogen-plant-on-west-coast/

Prefab home company to build factory in Kern County

A prefab home startup has chosen Kern County as the site of its latest expansion. The Rialto-based Plant Prefab Inc. bills itself as part of the solution to California’s housing crunch. Offering high-quality, environmentally friendly homes to buyers, the company says it can meet the demands of the housing market faster and cheaper than traditional construction.

The company will take advantage of an Advance Kern tax incentive to launch the new factory that could employ up to 440 people per year. “Right now, it’s hard to get buildings built on time,” Plant Prefab Vice-President Josh Tech told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. “With our building system, we actually can do things much better, at a better quality than you can do at the site.”

Traditional home construction involves assembling all the pieces of a house on-site, while prefab construction involves building the components of a home in a factory to ship to the site for assembly. PPI recently announced $30 million in investment, including from the Amazon Alexa Fund. The company has two factories, in Rialto and Ontario, but the Kern County site is expected to be its biggest yet. “We build our product at a small scale in these two factories at the moment,” Tech said. “This new factory is going to be state-of-the-art, with automation, high-class material handling, those types of things that we can scale at a factor of 20 times what we’re doing now.” Kern is offering a tax rebate worth up to $6.6 million over 30 years — or $15,000 per each full-time job — to bring the company to the county. Plant Prefab must hire at least 50 full-time workers by June 30, 2023, to meet the agreement, and it plans to hire 100 to 150 in the first year of operation.

Advance Kern is the county’s primary method for attracting new businesses and helping others expand. The relatively new incentive has previously brought Amazon and Loreal Paris to Kern. As the county tries to diversify the local economy, it views the Plant Prefab deal as a win-win that is good for county workers and good for local investment. “This is an agreement that brings a company here that is an award-winning company, that has a super-great track record on how they compensate and manage their workforce,” said Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop. “They are really building a state-of-the-art product that lots of people are interested in. It’s the exact kind of company that we want to locate here in Kern County.”

In a state with ever-rising housing costs and developers who complain of regulations that slow down the pace of construction, prefab homes are seen by some as one solution. The technology has slowly advanced over the decades to a point where it is being seriously considered to address housing and labor shortages throughout the state. Andy Fuller, president of Fuller Apartment Homes and principal of Presidio Capital Partners, told The Californian homes are still able to be produced in Bakersfield cheaply and quickly using traditional construction, but coastal cities could see a big benefit from prefab designs. “It’s been 30 or 40 years in the making to this point, but it is definitely making more sense every year,” he said.

The county is even seeking Plant Prefab’s help in housing those experiencing homelessness. Sooner rather than later, more and more homes could be built using this method. “It’s a very good thing for Kern County and I think that location makes a lot of sense,” Fuller added. “I do think it is the future. Like any kind of business it has its challenges, but it’s been a long time in the making.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/prefab-home-company-to-build-factory-in-kern-county/article_7e4159e8-38ff-11ec-a787-5f08f4979c47.html

California’s first electric truck stop in the works

A California startup company has announced plans to build the state’s first solar-powered truck stop for heavy-duty, Class 8 electric trucks. WattEV Inc. said it is slated to receive a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build the facility in Bakersfield, California. Additionally, the company said it has raised $6 million in private equity seed funding led by Canon Equity. Groundbreaking is expected in late October.

The announcement was made at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo 2021 in Long Beach, California, on Aug. 30. WattEV, based in El Segundo, California, said the CEC should approve the grant Sept. 8 at its monthly business meeting. “Our successful private-equity seed funding, in addition to the grant awarded for this project, are important milestones in our effort to deploy 12,000 electric heavy-duty trucks on the road by 2030,” said Salim Youssefzadeh, CEO of WattEV. “The electric truck stop in Bakersfield is the first step toward our commitment to help build the charging infrastructure network necessary to accelerate the heavy-duty trucking sector’s transition to electric drive,” he added. Partners joining WattEV and the CEC on the Bakersfield electric truck stop project include the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the Central California Asthma Collaborative, Greenlots, Power Electronics and several others.

In addition to the Bakersfield project, WattEV is in the planning stages for similar projects in San Bernardino and Gardena in Southern California. Both electric truck stops will serve the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, as well as the warehouses fed by goods coming through the ports. WattEV has also secured purchase incentive vouchers through the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, and plans to initially buy six VNR Electric Class 8 trucks from Volvo Group. WattEV has has applied for 24 more electric truck HVIP vouchers for future purchases. All told, WattEV plans to run its own fleet of 30 heavy-duty electric trucks by the end of 2022. The fleet will be deployed under contract with several Southern California fleet customers.

The first fleet partnership is with Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI), which serves the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and has a presence in Bakersfield. TTSI will be offering electric transport freight services to shippers in Southern California on routes served by WattEV’s platform. To help accelerate the transition to electric goods movement, WattEV is developing an advanced software platform — trucks-as-a-service, or TaaS — designed specifically for the use of electric trucks within its network of charging stations on designated routes. The TaaS platform will offer an all-inclusive, charge-per-mile formula that will enable a transporter to use an electric truck to move goods normally handled with diesel trucks on the routes selected by shippers.

https://www.thetrucker.com/trucking-news/equipment-tech/charging-solutions-californias-first-electric-truck-stop-in-the-works

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