image: California Energy Commission
In The New York Times on Friday, I write about another setback in California’s scramble to meet its renewable energy targets:
The developer of a hybrid biomass solar power plant to be built in California has abruptly canceled the project, underscoring the challenges the state faces in meeting its ambitious renewable energy goals.
Martifer Renewables, a Portuguese company, had signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the California utility PG&E for 106.8 megawatts. The power was to be generated from a pair of power plants called San Joaquin Solar 1 and 2 that would be built on 640 acres of agricultural land in Fresno County. The facility would produce electricity from a solar field by day and burn biomass collected from area farms by night. But 18 months into an extensive licensing process and after recently depositing $250,000 for a transmission study, Martifer notified the California Energy Commission last month that it was withdrawing its license application.
The developer’s representatives did not return a request for comment. But in a June 17 letter to the energy commission, Miguel Lobo, a Martifer executive, wrote, “We were not able at this time to resolve some of our issues regarding project economics and biomass supply amongst other things.”
Although local residents and regulators had raised issues about the proposed solar farm’s water consumption and other impacts, it was the project’s plan to operate around the clock by burning biomass that proved problematic, according to energy commission records.
You can read the rest of the story here.