Monday, December 9, 2013

Billion Dollar Power Plant at Sierra and M Creates a Division Between Lancaster and Palmdale

Palmdale-This is an article from CBSLA LANCASTER ( — A proposed billion dollar power plant in the Antelope Valley has generated a heated battle between residents and elected officials in Lancaster and Palmdale. Lancaster Vice-Mayor Marvin Crist held a forum in the city on Wednesday, when residents gathered to debate the project, which would be constructed on the border between the two cities at East Avenue M and Sierra Highway. “The problem is the location, and where they actually put the power plant,” Crist told KCAL9′s Dave Bryan. “The problem is the pollution… Palmdale gets all of the benefits. Lancaster gets all of the pollution.” But Palmdale officials argue the power plant is a no-brainer that would boost the local economy, create jobs and is environmentally clean and safe – fueled by natural gas. “We have the CEC [California Energy Commission] and EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] approval,” Palmdale Mayor James Ledford said. “This will in fact clean the air in the Antelope Valley, and it brings all kinds of financial benefits. Eight hundred great paying jobs would be part of the construction of the power plant – and in an environment where we have double-digit unemployment,” he said. Crist has so far conducted 30 community forums explaining why the city opposes the project, which he says would blow pollution into Lancaster, where asthma rates among are already very high. “This is essentially breaking a peanut in front of child that to the peanut. It’s not good,” he said, adding, “It’s still dirty. It’s not a renewable energy.” Lancaster resident Ben Hobbs attended the community forum because he is concerned about what he’s heard. “We are very concerned the pollution that’s been described – 540-plus tons of toxic material that every year will go into our air. So we are concerned about that. I have children, a son with asthma. This will not be a positive thing for us,” Hobbs said. Ledford meanwhile pointed to environmental impact studies that indicate two new centers now being planned across from a local high school in Lancaster will create more air pollution than the power plant that would be miles away from and has been approved by the state environmental agencies. “Five years of review, 13 public hearings. Actually, the City of Lancaster approved this when we made an initial pitch,” Ledford said. The local Air Quality Management District is scheduled to take a vote on the project on December 17. Lancaster officials say they expect 500 to 1,000 people to show up at the hearing.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

California Judge Cuts Off State Funding for High-Speed Train Venture

This is an article from the FoxNews-A California judge has slammed the brakes on funding a pricey high-speed train project, in a move that could put the entire Los Angeles-to-San Francisco line in jeopardy. The ruling Monday, by California Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny, was greeted as good news by critics of the ambitious but costly rail proposal. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the House majority whip, called the high-speed train an “unworkable boondoggle” and said Tuesday he’ll work with his colleagues in Congress to deny federal funding for it as well. “The ruling marks yet another self-inflicted setback for the California High-Speed Rail Authority and a small victory for California taxpayers,” McCarthy told “The CHSRA has failed at every turn to detail a realistic plan that will fund this program. With no private funds, unreliable ridership numbers and the reliance on taxpayers to eventually bail the project out – it should not move forward.” The ruling is the latest setback for champions of high-speed rail in California. It follows a recent decision by the federal government to suspend their review of a massive loan for a separate California-to-Vegas train. Kenny, in his ruling Monday, rejected a request from the CHSRA to sell $9 billion of the $10 billion in bonds approved by voters in 2008. Over the summer, Kenny ruled that the state had failed to comply with requirements of the voter-approved money that would pay for the project’s initial phase. However, the measure also included provisions that basically said the state couldn’t start building if it had not secured all of the capital needed to create a fully operational and self-supporting first section of the line. California is about $25 billion short of what it needs to complete the first phase. While Kenny’s decision doesn’t immediately halt the project, it does make going forward difficult. Kenny ruled state officials failed to comply with legal requirements but chose to proceed with plans anyway. Dan Richard, head of the rail authority, said in a written statement he saw the ruling as a positive sign and the board is reviewing the decision “to chart our next steps” -- he said “it is important to stress that the court again declined the opposition’s request to stop the high-speed rail project from moving forward.” Elizabeth Alexis, co-founder of a Bay Area group fighting the project, told the Los Angeles Times the rail authority has been “acting as if it is above the law.” The CHSRA, which was already a year behind schedule, had hoped to break ground on the first 28 miles of a 130-mile stretch in the Central Valley by mid-2014. State officials say they are weighing their options and looking for ways to keep the project going but admit Kenny’s ruling could complicate construction plans. While the ruling limits California’s access to $9 billion, the state still could technically begin building by tapping into federal money; however, experts warn it would be a big financial risk for a state that has a history of making questionable money decisions. Less than five years ago, the state’s coffers were so depleted that many of the public services that helped boost California into the ninth largest economy in the world were in jeopardy of shutting down. Rod Diridon, a former rail agency board member and supporter of the high-speed train, discounted Monday’s ruling, telling the L.A. Times, “Our state is no longer used to mega projects. There are going to be a lot of impediments. So suck it up.” Earlier this year, another proposed high-speed train connecting California to Las Vegas was disrupted after the Transportation Department halted the review of what would have been its largest taxpayer loan in history. The project, which was a favorite of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, came under intense Republican scrutiny, with lawmakers citing concern about “subsidizing” a costly and possibly risky project.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Antelope Valley Residents are Concerned with the Safety of First Solar’s CdTe Thin Film. Cancerous Cadmium Telluride?

Cadmium Telluride is a highly cancerous element. Recently, Foxnews reported that a bankrupt solar plant in Colorado (Abound Solar) which benefited from $400 million in federal loan guarantees in 2010 from the Obama administration left a toxic waste that may cost $3.7 million to clean up. The residents who live near Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One want to know whether the cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film solar panels that First Solar has installed in their back yard will harm them. An article from indicated that according to First Solar Director of Environmental and Sustainable Development Dr. Parikhit Sinha explained to local leaders that cadmium telluride, “one of the best known semiconductors,” is not the same thing as cadmium. Here is the link regarding Abound Solar: According to First Solar A very thin layer of CdTe “allows you to absorb all the light needed to create electricity,” he explained. “This is the key to First Solar’s cost-effective and efficient manufacturing.” article goes onto say: A byproduct of mining, Sinha explained, cadmium is highly toxic and carcinogenic. Exposure can cause lung, kidney or liver pathology or failure. In the presence of tellurium, however, cadmium forms a crystalline lattice that is highly stable (high boiling point, low vapor pressure, low solubility). “It likes to be a solid,” Dr. Sinha said. “It is several orders of magnitude a factor of 100 less toxic than cadmium.” Dr. Sinha indicates that CdTe is still a potentially toxic material, but as it is within the glass panel it limits the possibility to inhale the toxin. “The semiconductor material is bonded to a sheet of glass under very high temperature,” Sinha explained. "An industrial laminate material, ethyl vinyl acetate, a type of plastic, encapsulates the semiconductor and seals it between a second piece of glass.” Freeing the CdTe from the laminate is the biggest challenge of recycling, Sinha said. It would take a very rare and daunting set of circumstances to both free the CdTe and release cadmium. Greentech also quotes an Assistant professor Dustin Mulvaney from San Jose State University who is part of the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition (SVTC). Mulvaney indicated that First Solar is required to recycle the panels in a certain manner to prevent leakage, but the biggest risk is to the site workers if they get cut by the glass. AV residents were not fully satisfied as they felt First Solar is a new firm, and they may not know the full extent of the issues with CdTe. The site will have regular maintenance work done and inspections. They also will have prefunded end of life take back and recycling. Dr. Sinha also said that the maximum temperature on the solar panels will be 800 to 1,000 degrees Celsius for just a few seconds and CdTe is stable in the glass at 1100 degrees Celsius with only .4 % potential release of cadmium. Dr. Sinha indicated that such an occurrence can be handled by the company and emergency services. Greentech’s article said that some of the residents were satisfied with First Solar’s response and others were not. The company has given $350,000 in community benefits, and also provide two hundred full time construction jobs.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Japanese Folklore Oarfish and Earthquakes, Did Southern California Just get a Prediction?

In Japan, there is a traditional between Oarfish and earthquakes that goes back centuries. . Legend says that Oarfish beach themselves as a warning to the people before an earthquake. Oarfish are a deep sea and rarely seen fish, and are said to be messengers from the palace of the Sea God. The first recent Oarfish showed up on Catalina Island, and just a week ago on Oceanside Harbor, California. Scientists disregard the correlation, but in March 11, 2011 the Fukushima quake was a major quake killing 18,000 and causing massive damage and a tsunami. A year before the quake Japanese fishermen reported a number of Oarfish sightings. The Daily Telegraph reports the appearance of the fish washing up on shore was followed by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile and the January 12 tremors in Haiti, which claimed an estimated 200,000 lives. There was also a less destructive quake of 6.4 in southern Taiwan. All these earthquakes are part of the Pacific Rim of Fire which includes California, where most of the worlds earthquakes occur with consistency. The scientific theory is that bottom dwelling fish such as the Oarfish may very well be susceptible to movements in seismic fault lines and act in uncharacteristic ways in advance of an earthquake. Also news reports indicate on October 18th a 15-foot and 2,000-pound Saber Toothed Whale washed up on shore in Venice Beach. This whale is also rarely seen and lives mainly in Alaska’s deep sea. Many may consider this part of “Climate Change”, but the global warming people blame everything on climate change. We will have to see if these rare species feel the tremors of the future or not in the coming months of years, but if something catastrophic does occur in Southern California then more attention maybe place in the Oarfish omen.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

City of Lancaster Ca. Revitalization of Yucca Neighborhood

Yucca Neighborhood Revitalization The geographical area located between Sierra Highway and Division Street and between Avenue I and Avenue K, shall be referred to as the Yucca Neighborhood Vision Plan. This name was selected because of the important early role Yucca Avenue played in the development of the area within the urban core of the City, and because it is a recognized feature common throughout the entire vision plan area. The Yucca Neighborhood Vision Plan area is broken up into a number of land use districts composed of residential, commercial, industrial and transportation related uses. It is from the strength of these previously established uses that the vision plan will focus on promoting quality redevelopment in some of the older areas, while promoting compatible new development and growth on land suitable for infill projects yet to be developed. The primary objectives for the Yucca Neighborhood Vision Plan are: 1) to eliminate or reduce the number of deteriorating and unmaintained properties; 2) redevelop areas involving inconsistent patterns and densities of multi-family residential uses; 3) to mitigate the conflict between some of the uses (e.g. mostly commercial to residential uses); 4) to develop programs and establish street patterns for the redevelopment and rehabilitation of older commercial and residential properties; 5) to enhance circulation and access, wherever possible; 6) to ensure and facilitate the construction of new infrastructure to support neighborhood growth and future investment; and 7) to create implementation tools and comply with environmental standards in order to realize the potential benefits from the resultant vision plan. The City of Lancaster has been planning since at least September of last year to revitalize the area east of Sierra Hwy and between Ave I and Ave K. There have been community meetings with participation from residents in the area. The funding has been secured from Los Angeles County revitalization projects with an update of zoning code for the areas to the east and south of the Lancaster Metrolink Station since September 2012 with a grant from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the City has retained a team of consultants. This planning grant from the Southern California Association of Governments, the City of Lancaster has retained Sargent Town Planning to help create a Vision Plan for the Southeast Transit Village Plan Area (STVPA). The STVPA is approximately 90 acres located east and southeast of the existing Metrolink Station, from Lancaster Boulevard to Avenue J and between Sierra Highway and Division Street. The Plan builds on Downtown’s recent civic and economic revitalization to: 1. Extend the success of Lancaster Boulevard to the east side of the railroad tracks 2. Rethink the Metrolink station as an urban, pedestrian-oriented, multi-modal transit facility 3. Establish better pedestrian, bicycle, and bus connections to the Lancaster Metrolink Station from both sides of the railroad tracks, while still accommodating access via vehicles 4. Introduce mixed-use development to provide housing, offices, and retail uses that complement Downtown Several recent meetings have been cancelled, but with funding in place the prospects of a rejuvenated area between Division and Sierra Hwy and Lancaster Blvd and Ave J look good. Most of this area is industrial type property and development, but the zoning is Mixed Use neighborhood allowing apartments with retail at street level and housing above. The cost per acre for this land may seem high, but the likelihood of this area being filled with new development seems very high. The area here has lots of development and the open space is mainly infill. It looks to be a great area to invest for a short term gain. The area has need a boost for some time, and maybe now is that time with the funding in place and the area is surrounded by development. It will become a large transit zone with access to hospitals and all city services. It may even become a location for retired people because of the accessibility.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Rich are Buying Land Why not You

As the wealthy get wealthier, they're putting more of it into land. America's 100 largest individual landowners added 700,000 acres to their landholdings last year, according to the Land Report 100, which is created by Land Report and Fay Ranches a brokerage firm and reported by CNBC. Those 100 individuals or families now control more than 30 million acres, or 2 percent of America's entire land mass. What are they buying? Looks like Ranches and Farmland, timberland which they lease out to farmers and loggers. Some of the recent holdings are by John Malone a Cable Titan who bought 120 acres in Florida, and Ted Turner (CNN) who bought 2 million acres, Jeff Bezos of Amazon who bought 290,000 acres, the Koch family with 239,000 acres and hedge fund titan Louis Moore. Why is this important for Antelope Valley Titans, well duplicating what the rich do can also influence your pocket book for one. You don’t have to buy hundreds of thousands of high desert land in the Valley. But these large land buyers don’t by thousands of acres just to hold. They investigate before they buy and they assess value with risk. They invest for the future, although some may donate this land for conservation purposes and develop elsewhere. But for investors looking longer term so when others get in on the low end of the market then it is a positive sign that low priced land may also be available for you in places like Antelope Valley, We have a number of low priced industrial land for sale on our website

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lancaster City Council Approve Three New Solar Sites.

City Council Meeting and AV Press Reports that the City Council in a unanimous vote Tuesday night Sept 9, 2013 gave final approval to three solar energy projects proposed for roughly 93 acres of open desert area on the east side of the Lancaster National Soccer Center. The City Council vote makes necessary changes to the zoning and land-use designations in an area generally bounded by avenues K-8 and L, and 20th and 30th streets east. The council's approval also validates a conditional-use permit the Planning Commission approved Aug. 19, allowing the projects to move forward as planned. The solar projects will be each owned by separate companies PsomasFMG, U.S. Topco and Morgan Solar. The PsomasFMG facility is on roughly 35 acres between avenues K-8 and K-12 west of 25th Street East, with a generating capacity of 3.8 megawatts. The project will consist of rows of photovoltaic panels on single-axis trackers. The panels will be between 6 and 8 feet tall, depending on their tilt. The U.S. Topco project is on roughly 38 acres between avenues K-12 and L west of 25th Street East with the capability to generate 8 megawatts of energy. Rows of fixed solar panels will be roughly 6 feet tall on the site. Morgan Solar's facility is on roughly 20 acres on the east side of 25th Street East. It will generate 1.5 megawatts of energy sitting on dual-axis trackers. The panels will be about 8 feet tall. All projects will connect to the power grid through underground wiring, a city report states.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Obama Renewable Energy Plan Targets LA, San Bernardino and Kern Counties

The White House has pushed for approval of an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands (BLM Bureau of Land Management). The Obama administration says the 25 utility-scale solar facilities, nine wind farms, and 11 geothermal plants it has approved on federal lands so far will provide enough juice to power 4.4 million homes. According to the National Geographic magazine, The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) so far has issued permits or is conducting environmental reviews for solar, wind, and geothermal projects covering about 310,000 acres (125,450 hectares) an area about the size of Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. Many projects require that electric transmission lines be built over miles of open space to connect the remote renewable generating plants to the grid that serves population centers. There have been recent lawsuits against the plan to use so much public land and land that has delicate environmental ecosystems. Also, Federal and State Funds for these projects come with strict deadlines to break ground, a rush to buy land with an abundance of endangered plants and animals like E-Solar did in Antelope Valley. There are also regulations from County governments. This all created speculative investments, lawsuits, canceled projects, and other complications. The Solar Millennium project in Death Valley was abandoned by its bankrupt developer, Other projects have been cut back in size and some like Beautiful Earth in Del Sur in Antelope Valley have asked for extensions to complete their plan. Separately, birds have been found dead including three brown pelicans who may have thought the solar panels were a water source from several hundred feet. We have also reported Bright Source Energy’s issue with relocating desert tortoise found living on their Ivanpah Solar site. This site takes up 3500 acres. News reports indicate that the company paid up to $22 million to relocate the tortoise and they will have to spend $34 million in mitigation costs to offset their project. It is likely that projects approved just a few years ago would not have been approved today because of the environmental impact. Solar projects are the biggest targets for BLM land as they produce more megawatts than wind or geothermal and they use less land. The debate is not over and with all the legal challenges we expect more back and forth as these projects proceed or don’t. Some investors can benefit as speculative investment land and mitigation land will be targets for these environmental projects.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

California’s Bullet Train Or Elon Musk’s Hyperloop?

How about “L.A. to S.F. in 30 minutes?”, which was the front page of the Los Angeles Times this week. At the same time Elon Mush of Tesla is proposing a Hyperloop, the conceptual superfast, solar-powered, tubular transit system. This news came after another L.A. Times piece about the potential Cal High Speed Rail experiencing delays again. The much delayed, and over budget, fast train is already in the works and beyond conception mode like the Hyperloop. The State of California has budgeted $68 Billion and years of planning on the CalHighSpeedRail plan. The LA Times reports that Musk deliberately hopes his Hyperloop will disrupt current plans for the railroad. “I don’t think we should do the high-speed rail thing,” Musk told reporters. “It’s basically going to be California’s Amtrak,” he said. He didn’t mean that as a compliment.(LA Times). The California High Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan said Musk greatly underestimates the costs of the Hyperloop, not to mention how hard it is to secure funding for mass transit and convince neighbors and environmentalists that such a system won’t be harmful. “While we have a lot of respect for his inventiveness, I think we could tell him a few things about the realities of building in California,” Richard said. Hyperloop is just on the drawing board and has potentially many hurdles. It is speculated to only cost $6 Billion just 10% of the cost of the HighSpeed Rail? That too maybe farfetched as the Railroad plan started at $100 Billion for the entire project, and now it’s $68 Billion for a portion of the overall plan. Californians approved about $10 billion in bonds for the project back in 2008. The LA Times also reports the costs have multiplied since then, and the state hasn’t secured all of the additional funds needed. The train is also behind schedule because of delays in engineering the project and acquiring land along the route, and because of all the environmental and legal challenges. Although, the clock’s ticking on federal stimulus grants, which are set to expire in 2017. The Hyperloop certainly sounds better, it projected to be cheaper, solar powered and take less time to go from San Francisco to LA (30 minutes). You could easily link up with a rental car, taxi, Metro or Muni at either destination city. It also looks like you only need 4 to 6 people in order to fill a transport capsule, while the train would be 6 to 10 rail cars. There are engineering issues with the Hyperloop in that it would generation lots of heat, so a proposal to surround the tube with water but that could mean lots of water. Maybe a combination of the two plans could fit, but we don’t see the Hyperloop operating through the Central Valley or Antelope Valley. It could kill the train in Palmdale, Ca. The other option is the Hyperloop is not for California as they have made their bet with the train. It may fit better between Dallas and Houston, or New York and D. C., or even New York to L. A. so the liberals can zoom past those Red States as fast as possible to get to another liberal haven.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hwy Corridor Progressing with Alternatives

News from the Victor Valley Daily Press indicates progress for the Hwy Corridor. There was a recent meeting in late July with The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority and Caltrans regarding the proposed route connecting the Victor and Antelope Valleys. They are proposing an eight-lane High Desert Corridor that will stretch over 60 miles between the two cities of Palmdale and Victorville. They have almost completed their environmental studies. They are still a good bit away from reality though. They project to begin construction by 2016, but they will need new funds to consummate that plan. One of the options is to have a public and private sector funding of the project. A number of alternatives have come into play. The original plan was to build a freeway between Hwy 15 in Victorville to Hwy 14 in Antelope Valley. Now they are conceiving to add a high speed rail and a toll road or both. Or do nothing at all. The main reason the Hwy Corridor was planned was based on future population growth, and commerce between the two major cities in the High Desert. Currently the access is via Hwy 138 which runs East of Palmdale along the southern parts of the valley to Phelan, Pinon Hills and then to Victorville. We cannot locate full detailed public maps of the exact route the Hwy Corridor would precede. It is roughly projected to run East to West from Hwy 15 through Adelanto south of El Mirage by Krey Field Airport to Palmdale Blvd. (Q8) in Eastern Antelope Valley and proceed south of Lake Los Angeles via Palmdale Blvd and then up to Ave P-8 and connect to Hwy 14. Most (over 95%) of this route is vacant unused land. 10th East to 90th East in Palmdale is undeveloped land and P-8 in not a paved road. Palmdale Blvd is paved from Hwy 14 Eastward to 240th street East, but is certainly not wide enough for a hwy. There are proposed alternative bypass routes along the path. There looks to be speculative investment opportunities along the route and if the project is approved then profits can be made. We will keep you posted here with the progress as an eight lane hwy along Antelope Valley’s east side will make significant changes in those areas.

Friday, July 12, 2013

How to Get a Land Loan, Buying Land Over Time on Terms

We have numerous inquiries from land investors who are interested in land banking, but they don’t have the funds currently to buy property. They can’t get a loan from banks, private lenders or even personal loans from families. Some sellers will finance the purchase of their property with an (OWC) owner will carry usually with interest over time. But most sellers want cash. Yet buying land now as an investment is ideal as prices are much lower than they were just a few years ago. We at have helped Antelope Valley Investors buy land with terms over time. We have mainly sold land to cash buyers, but we have help finance our own land and other sellers land. If you are looking to buy a parcel primarily in the Antelope Valley, but can’t currently pay cash for the property, we can buy the parcel in advance for you and provide it to you. You will be the title holder on the property after escrow and then make monthly payments from two to five years, whichever works best. If we can help you finance and buy land for you for a custom home, or longer term investment let us know.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One Panels Dominates the Far West of the Valley

The enormous 230-megawatt (AC) solar power plant continues to rise from the desert floor. It rises about four feet above the ground for miles and looks like a winery field from a distance. Most of the frontage from Hwy 138 Ave D is covered by a fence. It actually doesn’t run up to the highway as it is set back a few hundred feet, and you can see the panels from the road as there is a covered fence to obscure your view. First Solar provides the engineering, procurement and construction services for Exelon. They have made great strides since this past March. They hired up to 350 employees mainly from Lancaster and Palmdale area the last several months according to news reports. It has also made a substantial impact on the local economy with daily hauling and lunches for the 350 plus employee and subcontractors and local vendors. They have had some obstacles to even begin. The local communities were against the project primarily. There was theft and property damage on the sites, and some rattle snake scares as well. News reports indicated they had issues the terrain which prevented them from meeting the conditional use permits (CUP) and loan guarantee deadline, but looks like they prevailed. This facility plans to produce 230 megawatts which should provide the energy needs of 75000 homes a year. Antelope Valley continues to be a sought after site as they get 300 days of sunshine a year. .A big advantage for First Solar is that the land was used before for farming, but not recently. This previous disturbed land eliminated some environmental concerns as there were no endangered plants or animals in the area. First Solar is also working on the Alpine Solar project further west toward Hwy 5. Alpine Solar is NRG’s 92 megawatt project also near Hwy 138. Nearby Local community leaders and News reports indicate more and more projects are being proposed in the area. The Antelope Valley may get their wish as the solar capital of the world as these project progress.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Construction To begin on Cal High Speed Rail With Lowest Priced Firm

SACRAMENTO -- State bullet train leaders recently approved the start of construction for California's $69 billion high-speed rail line, choosing the cheapest but least qualified firm to build the first leg. The California High-Speed Rail Authority asked its staff questions for more than an hour, but ultimately said it was confident in choosing a Southern California firm that promised to save the state at least $100 million. The board voted 6-0 to select a developer group led by Sylmar-based Tutor Perini to lay the physical groundwork for the first 29 miles of track between Madera and Fresno, with work starting as soon as late summer. CEO Jeff Morales is expected to sign the formal contract with the developer in coming weeks following final negotiations. Tutor Perini's $985 million bid beat the state's initial $1.2 billion estimate and the bids offered by four competing firms from around the world, which ranged from $1.09 billion to $1.54 billion. But state rail officials graded Tutor Perini's technical score as 68.5 out of 100, last among the finalists, whose quality scores ranged from 69 to 92.4. Still, all five firms passed met the authority's basic standards for quality. "The questions really boil down to, can the successful bidder do the job, and will they do it within the confines of the contract as contemplated by the authority?" said board member Jim Hartnett, of Redwood City. "The questions that I had were answered to my satisfaction." High-speed rail opponents raised questions at the meeting about possible cost overruns and the financial health of Tutor Perini. But the company's CEO, Ron Tutor, told reporters the criticisms of his firm are "all nonsense" fanned by the media "to create controversy that doesn't exist." "Like most of the uneducated opinions you hear where we can't rebut them, they're not based on anything factual or real," he said. "We've built more large civil works programs in this state than anyone else, virtually all of them successfully and without the cost overruns they all allude to." Before construction can begin, the state must still clear a few last-minute hurdles. Those include buying up properties along the rail route and winning clearance from the federal Surface Transportation Board, which is expected to rule on the project in the next two weeks.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Plans for High-speed Train From Vegas to Victorville Continues....

There have been plans developing since 2009 for a high-speed rail alternative to the often discussed magnetic levitation train to Southern California. The plan has been targeting using private funds, and will create up to 3,000 jobs during construction and prompt the displacement of some desert tortoises, representatives of the Federal Railroad Administration and an environmental consultant have proposed. Nevada Senator Harry Reid has also been a promoter of the train. It has been targeted to be called the DesertXpress, and would connect Las Vegas to Victorville not Anaheim, as the California Nevada Super Speed Train Commission proposed. The DesertXpress would operate at a speed of 150 mph which is half that of maglev (Anaheim Train). A one-way ticket would cost about $55. But DesertXpress Enterprises believes its project is more viable than the prior alternative, and DesertXpress could be funded through long-term debt and equity financing, as well as a public loan. DesertXpress will be electric and proposes a second phase to connect the train either diesel or electric-based to a nexus of public transit north of Los Angeles in Palmdale, Calif. The draft environmental impact statement has not initially included a study of the Victorville to Palmdale leg. Representatives of DesertXpress estimate that construction of the 180-mile project at $3.5 billion to $4 billion, whereas they predict the alternative 260-mile maglev line at $16 billion to $52 billion. The commission, however, recently pegged the maglev project at about $12 billion. DesertXpress would share existing transportation corridors, mostly Interstate 15. For example, an 85-mile stretch from Yermo, Calif. to Mountain Pass would be built in the freeway median and alongside it.. A span of the train could be built along the Union Pacific Railroad into the Las Vegas area, north of Jean. And a section of I-15 in the southern Las Vegas Valley could be built over the median. A potential Las Vegas station could be near I-15 and Flamingo Road consultants have indicated. A maintenance facility could be built near I-15 and Wigwam or I-15 and Robindale Road. A train from Long Beach to Vegas was used before in 1955 and taken out of service by 1966. It was a standard train of its time, but a direct express. Is there enough potential traffic between Victorville and Las Vegas? Or will the bulk be gamblers and resort seekers. It will certainly create a lot of activity and speculative land activity if this project truly takes off. Most of this land east of San Bernardino is open space, and habitat for endangered species.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Japanese Rail Carmaker Looking at Palmdale Plant

PALMDALE – AV Press recently reported: A Japanese company could start building rail cars out of a former bomber factory in the city as soon as August, the city's mayor said Monday. City of Palmdale leaders met Monday with five representatives of Kinkisharyo International, a Massachusetts subsidiary of Japanese firm Kinki Sharyo, to discuss the company's use of Site 9, the former B-1B bomber plant located at 30th Street East and Avenue P. Kinkisharyo is negotiating with Los Angeles World Airports, which owns Site 9, for a lease for one of the massive hangars. Ledford said they gave the company's representatives a feel for the permitting process. City officials also vowed that they would help them with any issues with other jurisdictions. Kinkisharyo has a $890 million contract to build potentially hundreds of light-rail cars for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The immediate work would be to produce two rail cars in what Ledford called a demonstration phase of the contract. Kinkisharyo International was awarded an $890 million contract by MTA last April to produce as many as 235 rail cars, with the first 28 cars to be delivered by 2015. The contract included a commitment to creating U.S. jobs in delivering the vehicles. "It sets the stage for the balance of the program," Ledford said. "This opens the door with MTA for other rail car construction." Initially, the work would provide 50 to 60 jobs. As the program progresses, it could mean as many as 200 to 250 jobs. Dave Walter, Palmdale's director of economic development, said the company has the capability to do more than light rail. The company could play a role in the planned high-speed rail project that would link Southern and Northern California. Having those rail cars produced in California could help lower the cost of that project, Walter said. The next step is for the company to finalize a lease agreement with Los Angeles World Airports. An organization spokesman said those discussions are ongoing. "They are coming," Ledford said. "It's a home run for us. Now we have to perform." Site 9 has a remarkable history. It was used by Rockwell International during the 1980s for the assembly of 100 B-1B bombers. The site saw use as a soundstage for four major movies. For the 1998 release "Hard Rain,'' starring Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman, several sets depicting a small town were built inside one of the massive hangars. The set was flooded for the movie's climax. One assembly building was used in the 2003 Steven Spielberg movie "Terminal,'' starring Tom Hanks. For that film, a 2-story replica of an airport terminal was built, complete with some 40 retail shops and restaurants. The site also was used for "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and for a "Mission Impossible" film. For approximately two years in the early 2000s, the plant was occupied by Swiss-based SR Technics, which arrived in the Antelope Valley with much fanfare in 2000, intending to run an airline maintenance and renovation operation. However, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent nosedive in the aviation industry forced its parent corporation into bankruptcy, taking fledgling SR Technics with it. One of the two hangars at Site 9 already is under lease to NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. NASA uses the site to house a number of science aircraft, including the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy flying telescope, the high-altitude ER-2s and a DC-8 flying laboratory. NASA's 20-year lease for what is now known as the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility was signed in 2007. NASA invested $6.4 million in modifications and upgrades to the facility, in addition to $4 million in refurbishments by Los Angeles World Airports.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo makes history with 1st rocket-powered flight. Antelope Valley First in Private Rocket Flight?

The Antelope Valley Continues its thrust as a major location for aeronautics with now Virgin Galactic, but also with the Stealth Bomber, and the big three Northrup, Lockheed and McDonald Douglas have manufacturing facilities in the valley. Mojave, Calif. – From Foxnews and A private spaceship designed to carry space tourists made its first rocket-powered test flight Monday, April 29, reaching supersonic speeds as it paved the way toward commercial flights in the near future. Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo space plane fired its rocket engines for the first time during flight this morning in a test from California's Mojave Air and Spaceport. The vehicle was carried aloft by the mothership WhiteKnightTwo, and then released in midair at an altitude of about 46,000 feet. At that point, SpaceShipTwo test fired its rocket engine, designed to propel the craft of the rest of the way up to space. 'We will now embark on a handful of similar powered flight tests, and then make our first test flight to space.'- Virgin Galactic president and CEO George Whitesides After a short 16-second burn today, SpaceShipTwo reached a maximum altitude of 56,000 feet before flew back to Earth. The trip marked the 26th test flight of the vehicle, and the first "powered flight," which propelled the ship to Mach 1.2, fast enough to beat the speed of sound, which is 761 miles per hour. [See amazing photos of SpaceShipTwo test flights. "The rocket motor ignition went as planned, with the expected burn duration, good engine performance and solid vehicle handling qualities throughout," Virgin Galactic president and CEO George Whitesides said in a statement. "The successful outcome of this test marks a pivotal point for our program. We will now embark on a handful of similar powered flight tests, and then make our first test flight to space." SpaceShipTwo is a suborbital vehicle, designed to carry space tourists on trips to the edge of space and back for $200,000 a ride. Though these flights wouldn't make a full orbit of the planet, they would provide passengers with a brief experience of weightlessness and a view of Earth from the blackness of space. Virgin Galactic is backed by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who was on the ground at Mojave to view the flight today. "This is a momentous day and the single most important flight test to date for our Virgin Galactic program," Branson wrote in a blog post on Virgin's website. "What a feeling to be on the ground with all the team in Mojave to witness the occasion." If test flights continue to go well, SpaceShipTwo may carry passengers as soon as this year or 2014, Virgin Galactic officials have said. Already, more than 500 people have signed up for the flights, which will be run out of Spaceport America in New Mexico once testing is complete. The test flight began this morning at 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT, or 1400 GMT). Flying aboard SpaceShipTwo were pilot Mark Stucky and co-pilot Mike Alsbury, both test pilots for the private aerospace firm Scaled Composites, which built SpaceShipTwo for Virgin Galactic. It comes after two recent glide test flights, on April 3 and April 12, that set the stage for today's landmark powered test. Scaled also built the space plane's predecessor, SpaceShipOne, which won the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004 by becoming the first commercial vehicle to fly people to space and back twice in a week.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Recycle Your Tires Day And Other Recylcing Programs that LA County Sponsors

Saturday April 20th 9am to 3pm Open to L.A. County residents. No tires from businesses, no oversized or tractor tires. Rims accepted. If you transport more than 9 tires per trip you will neec to call ahead. This is sponsored by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich and There are other similar programs as part of the recycling programs for the county which can be found via There are Plastic Bag Programs now for Stores in unincorporated LA County are no longer allowed to provide single-use plastic carryout bags. To find out more about the County's Carryout Bag Ordinance go to Residential Recycling Program Find out about the County's Residential Recycling programs via this link here: . Los Angeles County Materials Exchange ( ) The Los Angeles County Materials Exchange, is a free Countywide materials reuse service that can help you find markets for your surplus materials and other usable discards. Also, Construction and Demolition Debris Projects requiring a construction, demolition, and/or grading permit must recycle at least 50% of the debris generated. Illegal Dumping is a big problem for many land owners in the valley and there is a means to report it via You can report large piles of illegally dumped trash, visit our this site: There are three reasons: money, health, and the environment. It decreases property values, and costs millions in clean up cost. It further pollutes land and water ways, and ruins wildlife habitats. It is a major problem and it ends up being the responsibility of the property owner to remove the debris. If the property owners doesn’t remove the debris then the county will and they will place a lien on the property for the cost to clear up the debris.

Friday, April 5, 2013

BYD to Build Electric Bus Assembly Plant in Lancaster

Long Beach Transit recently awarded a $12.1 million contract to BYD America to build all electric buses, the Shenzhen China based company has agreed to based its California assembly plant in Lancaster. According to news reports, On May 1, BYD will break ground in Lancaster, and they will target this plant for the U.S. and Latin American markets. Further Michael Austin, vice president of BYD America, Lancaster’s use of solar energy was a factor in the decision. “They’ve been very green,” he said. “They’ve been the solar capital of the United States for a while because they have such great solar resources.” The plant is reported to be located at an old RV manufacturing plant. The 13 acres is located in heavy industrial zoned area around Ave H in the northern part of Lancaster near Sierra Hwy. Austin further said via news reports that all the required permits were already in place. “Literally, we have a factory that is built to suit,” he said. “It is perfect because it launches us very quickly into manufacturing, even manufacturing starting this year.” BYD is expected to deliver the buses to Long Beach Transit in 2014. There is no indication as to how many jobs will be created. Austin indicated that jobs will depend on market factors, but estimated that one job would be created for each bus sold per year. The company expects to produce 50 100 buses in the first year. Long Beach Transit’s contract with BYD had been under pressure to take another contract instead of BYD. It looks like Long Beach Transit decision played a role in BYD's decision. Austin defended the decision, saying BYD was a Chinese company but BYD Motors was an American entity. “Half our investors are US,” he said. “Our largest shareholder is Warren Buffett. Those buses will be built using California labor, creating California jobs to create California buses.” The Long Beach contract is partly funded by the Federal Transit Administration, and BYD is backed by Warren Buffett. They are scheduled to deliver the buses in 2014. BYD also has a headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, so they have established roots here for about 18 months. Among Electric Buses, cars, backup batteries and photo voltaic solar panels among other products.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lancaster California Proposing Mandatory Solar for New Homes

Reprint of Lancaster News Press Release- At its upcoming March 26, 2013 meeting, the Lancaster City Council will consider adopting a new ordinance which will require residential units built within Lancaster on or after January 1, 2014 to provide an average of 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar-generated electricity per housing unit. “Lancaster is already strongly committed to furthering green energy and reducing our carbon footprint. In fact, we’ve been nationally and internationally recognized for our solar achievements. However, to truly establish ourselves as the Alternative Energy Capital of the World, we must continue to take a progressive approach. I would like to commend our Planning Commission for this innovative revision of the Residential Zones, which will rapidly advance us towards becoming a net-zero City in record time,” remarked Mayor R. Rex Parris. The proposed new ordinance is a comprehensive revision of the City’s current Residential Zoning. The specific section addressing solar energy systems requires new single family residential units to provide solar-generated power at a minimum average of 1 kW per unit (depending on the type of lot). Installation of solar energy systems is not required for all homes within a production subdivision; however, the builder will still be required to meet the aggregate energy generation requirement within the subdivision. In addition, the proposed ordinance includes revised development standards, additional design and performance measures, infill development incentives, accessory dwelling unit requirements, provisions allowing corner duplexes, and live-work provisions. The ordinance also contains regulations to implement provisions of the City’s adopted Housing Element and current State housing law, which are necessary to comply with State law. “City Planning staff and Planning Commissioners did a great job in collaborating with the residential building industry as well as organized real estate and building trade associations to receive input and feedback during the development of this proposed ordinance,” said Planning Commission Chair, James Vose. Shortly after the adoption of the General Plan Update in 2009, City staff began initial research on the Residential Zones update. An administrative draft was released in June 2011, followed by a public draft in January 2012. Following several outreach efforts and a series of public hearings, the Planning Commission adopted Resolution No. 13-01 on January 28, 2013, recommending to the City Council approval of the City’s Residential Zoning Ordinance. Other zoning code amendments for implementation of specific actions from the City’s Housing Element are also included in the same resolution. “The layout and design of buildings and streets comprise a crucial component of any thriving cutting-edge city. As such, to ensure that the City of Lancaster remains at the forefront of innovative and progressive design and technology, the Architectural and Design Commission conducted a comprehensive revision of the City’s previous design guidelines, creating new principles which better reflect the current design approach and philosophy,” said Mayor Parris. “This proposed ordinance also reflects Lancaster’s commitment to become a net-zero city.” The Revised Residential Zoning Ordinance will be considered by the City Council at the March 26 Council Meeting held at 5 p.m. in the Lancaster City Council Chambers (44933 N. Fern Ave).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The City of Lancaster is on a Quest to be the “Green City” as far as Energy and Recycling

A private firm, Ecolution plans to build a more than $100 million high-tech automated recycling center in the city of Lancaster instead of sending waste to landfills it reuses and recycles the waste for energy and other purposes. The 100 hundred million is said to come from private financing, and their facility is said to recycle more products than similar facilities in use and there are less labor costs. Mayor R. Rex Paris has been quoted as saying “The City of Lancaster stands to be the first Net-Zero City in America,” “I support innovative public-private partnerships which promote green energy development and maximize our available resources. The long term success of Lancaster hinges on our ability to position ourselves as a leader in alternative energy production.” According to Ecolution’s website, they have a mechanism for sorting trash that they call GreenStream, which separates waste into 20 categories of materials, including recyclables, wet and dry organic fuels, electronic waste, household hazardous waste and inert materials such as rocks, concrete and soil. This allows them the ability to collect 85% of the recyclable material that Lancaster throws away. They can turn this into energy, or a new recycled product. The project is undergoing an environmental impact report, and maybe situated in the Fox Field Enterprise Zone. The city has previously agreed to provide a forty acres area for the facility.

Monday, March 11, 2013

When Can a Buyer Buy a New Home or Land after Foreclosure or Bankruptcy?

It is not all bad as you think if you have had a Bankruptcy or Foreclosure. We found information that can help those hurt in the recent Real Estate Financial crisis. A period of time needs to elapse and you also need to retain good current credit before you can get back into the real estate market. There are some really short times frames that prior borrowers can take advantage of, Here is the breakdown. Bankruptcy Conforming and High Balance Chapter 7 The time period is four years from discharge date Conforming and High Balance Chapter 13 The time period is two years from discharge date and four years from dismissal date. FHA Standard Chapter 13, 1 year if the payout period under the BK has elapsed and the borrower’s payment performance has been satisfied with all required payments. The borrower may also have to receive written permission from the court before getting another mortgage. A FHA Standard Chapter 7 bankruptcy person will have to wait two years since the date of discharge, and must re-established good credit or no new credit. A borrower with a high balance FHA chapter 7 or 13 will have to wait seven years before entering a new mortgage, while a high balance VA loan borrower with a Chapter 7 or 13 with have to wait two years, or one year but maybe case by case before entering a new mortgage. Pre-Foreclosure or Short Sale A conforming high balance borrower will have to wait four years after the credit report date. The borrower could get up to a 90% LTV (loan to value) also. A standard FHA high balance borrower will have to wait three years while a VA borrow will wait two years. Foreclosure Conforming and High Balance borrows will need to wait seven years from the credit report date while and FHA and VA loan borrower will need to wait three and two years respectively. There you have it. This past foreclosure crisis maybe well behind many prior borrowers and each situation maybe case by case. But with the low interest rates in today’s market there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Beautiful Earth Solar Project US Treasury Cancellation and City of Lancaster Planning Extension

Beautiful Earth Group LLC is planning a solar project on 180 acres of land at Avenue H to Avenue H-8, and between 80th Street West, and 90th Street West. The construction of their 38 megawatt photovoltaic solar generating facility is comprised of two19 MW solar fields in the Rural Residential zoned land (RR-2.5). Lancaster planning approved a (CUP) Conditional use permit back in November of 2010 to construct their proposed solar facility. The planning commission also recommended approval of General Plan Amendment and zone change. The City Council approved both the GPA and the Zone Change and CUP which became effective on February of 2011. Beautiful Earth Group later constructed a fence around the site area. The US Treasury 1603 Program: Payments for Specified Energy Property in Lieu of Tax Credits. According to the US Treasury site, the purpose of the 1603 payment is to reimburse eligible applicants for a portion of the cost of installing specified energy property used in a trade or business or for the production of income. A 1603 payment is made after the energy property is placed in service; a 1603 payment is not made prior to or during construction of the energy property. The deadline for new projects has passed and no new projects will be accepted according to the program. If a project has submitted an application prior to October 1, 2012 for energy property not yet placed in service (known as a Begun Construction application) they must update to a Converted Application within 90 days after the energy property is placed in service. The project applicant will not need to wait for a response from Treasury on their Begun Construction application. Applications updated after 90 days of an energy property being placed in service will not be accepted. Looks like Beautiful Earth Group may fall under this converted version as to our knowledge they have not begun construction. Beautiful Earth Group has applied for and they were granted an extension of one year with the city of Lancaster, Ca. in order to complete the construction of the project. It shows that well funded and Federal and locally approved alternative energy projects run into construction and timeframe obstacles.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wal-Mart Supercenter Gets Final Approval at 60th West at L in Lancaster Ca.

A five member City Council approved the Wal-Mart Supercenter this week. Mayor Rex Parris helped push it forward, so the center wouldn’t move to Palmdale instead. Several years ago there was discussion of using Palmdale as an alternative site, but eventually it was decided that the 60th Street West and Avenue L site would be the best location. There has been much debate and opposition and challenges to the environmental report. A second report was completed and that was eventually approved. It takes quite and effort and funds to get real development in an undeveloped location like Antelope Valley, so Wal-Mart was looking to the future for this site. 60th West at L is mostly open space as you look west. The city limits of Lancaster generally ends at 70th street West, so Wal-Mart must see a growing future in this area. They must see a larger population moving to this area in the coming decades. The population of Lancaster is approximately 150,000, and large box stores look for 250,000 people to accommodate such a supercenter. Wal-Mart has five stores in the valley currently, and this adds another. It looks like they project the Antelope Valley to have 1 million residents in the coming future. Looks to this big box store growth as a sign of growth and development in the Valley’s future. These large chains stores put a lot of effort and thought before they endeavor to build and grow their establishments, so this is a good sign for land prices in the area.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Land Acquisition and Construction Process is Very Slow for the $68 Billion Cal High Speed Rail

The LA Times recently reported that the land acquisition has not even started, yet construction is set to begin in July of this year. If the State doesn’t own any land how can they begin at all? The eminent domain process is very long a convoluted. Most of the land needed for the rail line will be agricultural land, but even then it will be similar to highway right of way acquisition. Hence a farmer would have to give up a portion of their land for the trains right of way, and cutting their own land in half. It is very likely most if not all of the High Speed Rail’s land acquisition will have to go via eminent domain which means court ordered sale of real estate. The state hopes to make purchase offers in the next several weeks, but expect farmers, homeowners, and businesses to ask top dollar for their land. In addition, agricultural land prices have risen the last year. The LA Times notes that Central Valley agricultural land can sell for $28k/acre, but the state land purchase budget is only $8k/acre. Yikes!! Once California hires their land buyers then offers will go out and the property owner has about a month to reply. They need to buy about 400 parcels. The state has rules regarding their eminent domain process which will extend the process by at least 90 days more. The eminent domain process could take another 18 months via the court system. Much of this agricultural land is family owned for generations. I don’t see many farmers giving up the land so easily. According to the LA times article , the initial 130 miles of rail in the Central Valley must be completed by 2018. The budget for this phase is $6 billion which requires spending about $3.6 million every day. This is voter approved as well. Californians sure loves to spend, if the state has the money or not. The major problem will be further delays increase the overall costs. Contractors are lined up, but they might even get paid without working based on their contracts.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Berkshire Hathaway Firm to Buy Antelope Valley Solar Project from SunPower

The Antelope Valley Press and several new agencies report that investor Warren Buffett firm (Berkshire Hathaway), one of the world's richest men, is investing in Antelope Valley solar projects. MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a company owned by the billionaire, will spend as much as $2.5 billion to build twin solar projects, originally proposed by SunPower, west of Rosamond and Lancaster. "We are excited about these projects because they support our core business principle of environmental respect. We are very proud to add SunPower technology to our portfolio of projects," said Bill Fehrman, president of Buffett's MidAmerican Renewables. MidAmerican Energy Holdings announced Wednesday it has acquired San Jose-based SunPower's 579-megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Projects, which would cover more than 3,000 acres straddling the Los Angeles County-Kern County line and which have been approved by Kern County and Los Angeles County officials. Called the world's largest solar-power project that has approval for construction, three-fourths of the project is in Kern County, with the rest in Los Angeles County. The site has irregular borders and runs roughly between Rosamond Boulevard and Avenue B and from roughly 110th to 190th streets west. MidAmerican will pay SunPower $2 billion to $2.5 billion for the projects and a three-year contract to build them. SunPower also will operate and maintain the projects under a multi-year agreement with MidAmerican, the companies announced in a joint statement. The projects will create an estimated 650 jobs during construction. SunPower officials said last month that hiring was expected to begin soon. MidAmerican Renewables, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.,, has a total portfolio of more than 1,830 megawatts of wind, geothermal, solar and hydro assets. The Antelope Valley Solar Projects will provide renewable energy to Southern California Edison under two long-term power purchase contracts approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. "The Antelope Valley Solar Projects mark a historic milestone for the energy industry," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president. "We are delivering highly reliable, low-cost, renewable energy at a very large scale. SunPower is proud to partner with MidAmerican Solar and SCE, recognized leaders in clean energy development, bringing critically needed jobs and economic opportunity to California and helping the state achieve its renewable portfolio requirement." In addition, SunPower will be the engineering, procurement and construction contractor, and will operate and maintain the facility under a multi-year services agreement. Construction of the solar project is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of this year, with the plants expected to be complete by the end of 2015. The project has secured final conditional-use permits and has completed full environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, the statement said. SunPower said the property is privately owned and has been previously distributed. The site is co-located with the existing Antelope Valley Water Bank and is already bisected by an already-approved transmission line project from Southern California Edison. A fact sheet on the project said the solar panels will have a maximum height of eight feet and have anti-reflective panels, not mirrors. According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the project is expected to offset more than 775,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, equivalent to removing almost 3 million cars from California's highways over the 20 years of the plant's operation, the statement said. MidAmerican Solar's projects also include the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms in San Luis Obispo County and a 49% ownership interest in the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma County, Ariz. "We are pleased to be working with SunPower on this development and look forward to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with Southern California Edison as our customer for energy generated by this project. As we have done at our other solar project locations, we will work hard to establish positive and productive relationships with community and county neighbors and stakeholders," said Paul Caudill, president of MidAmerican Solar. SunPower has more than 1,000 megawatts of solar power plants operating worldwide, including the first 130 megawatts of the 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch, which is under construction in San Luis Obispo County

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Edison Mission Energy Files for Bankruptcy

Edison Mission Energy, an unregulated power-generating unit of Rosemead-based Edison International, indicated in December 2012 that it had filed for bankruptcy and had agreed on a reorganization plan with its parent company and holders of its $3.7 billion in debt. First Solar Inc., a solar power module manufacturer acquired a number of solar power projects in development by Edison Mission Energy, the power generation division of Edison International. This includes photovoltaic projects proposed for the Gray Butte area near Lake Los Angeles and near Mojave. “They purchased the entire development pipeline," said Bob Stiens, public affairs manager for Edison International. The 150-megawatt Gray Butte plant, in the permitting process with Los Angeles County, is proposed for 1,100 acres of agricultural land east of 240th Street East, near Avenue S. Press releases quoted Edison Mission Energy in a statement. “This is an important first step in the process to reduce our debt, enhance our liquidity profile and position EME for continued operation and future success." As part of the deal, Edison Mission Energy will be deconsolidated from Edison International “as of the filing date” and, in the future, will be referred to by the parent company as discontinued operations. Edison International’s stake in the bankrupt generating unit will be transferred to unsecured creditors. Santa Ana-based Edison Mission Energy said it had slightly more than $5.1 billion in assets and just under that amount in liabilities in Chapter 11 papers filed Monday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Illinois. Edison Mission Energy has been struggling on several fronts: depressed energy prices because of the nation’s boom in natural gas production; higher fuel costs affecting its older coal-fired facilities; and pending debt maturities. Despite the challenges, Pizarro sought to strike a positive tone on Edison Mission Energy’s future.