Energy company SGH2 on May 20 revealed plans to develop what will be the world’s largest waste-to-hydrogen plant in Lancaster, California. The plant will process 42,000 tons of recycled waste per year and produce up to 3.8 million kilograms of hydrogen per year, the company said in a news release. The facility will use a proprietary gasification technology that converts waste to hydrogen. According to a memorandum of understanding between the company and the City of Lancaster, the city will co-own the facility and supply it with a guaranteed supply of recycled waste. SGH2 anticipates commencing construction in the beginning of 2021, with an expected operation date in the first quarter of 2023.

The California Independent System Operator announced an extension of its COVID-19-related restrictions May 18. The temporary restrictions for in-person meetings at CAISO’s offices and at off-site venues, as well as facility tours and nonessential business travel, have been extended until Sept. 14 “or until further notice,” the grid operator said in a news release. It will continue to hold meetings via teleconference as well as conduct webinars. 

East Bay Community Energy and Clearway Energy Group have distributed grants to some 28 different community-based organizations in support of their pandemic relief efforts, and have also contributed to the purchase of personal protective equipment for area front-line workers and at-risk community members, the organizations announced May 19. The funds were made available through a community benefit fund created as part of a 2019 power-purchase agreement, which had earmarked it for investments in Alameda County. A total of $140,000 in grants were awarded to Alameda County-based organizations that provide support for energy or utility bills, food security, rent, and health and wellness, and another $50,000 was donated toward PPE. An additional $60,000 has yet to be allocated.

Silicon Valley Clean Energy said May 21 that it will pay its solar customers $791,000 for surplus solar energy produced over the past year. More than 2,700 of SVCE’s solar net-energy metering customers are expected to receive the payouts. This is the largest annual NEM payment total since SVCE launched in 2017, according to the community choice aggregator. Its NEM customers include local residences, small and large businesses, schools, municipal governments and other institutions. SVCE’s service territory includes cities throughout Santa Clara County as well as portions of unincorporated Santa Clara County.

Shiprock Solar, a subsidiary of French solar developer Photosol, has applied to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to lease 1,980 acres as part of a 372-MW solar project to be located adjacent to the San Juan Mine in northwestern New Mexico. The mine feeds the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station, operated by Public Service Company of New Mexico. The proposed project, which would also pass through hundreds of acres of private land, would connect to either a Western Area Power Administration substation or PNM’s San Juan Substation. It is undergoing BLM’s variance process and, if approved, would likely begin the environmental impact statement process this summer, a spokesperson at BLM’s Farmington, New Mexico field office said in a phone interview.

Avangrid Renewables began construction on the 306-MW La Joya Wind Farm in Torrance County, New Mexico, according to a May 12 news release from the State Land Office. The project will consist of 111 turbines on 35,000 acres of state trust land and additional private land. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2020, with its output contracted to PNM. The state’s Office of Renewable Energy at the land office is currently processing more than 40 applications for new solar and wind projects on state trust land, the release says. Avangrid’s adjacent 298-MW El Cabo wind farm became operational in December 2017. La Joya 2 is also under development in the county.

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative’s largest solar array became operational May 14. Located near the Taos Water Treatment Plant, the 3-MW, 12,000-panel array will serve KCEC’s largest substation, the co-op said in a May 18 news release. The opening of the solar field, the co-op’s 17th array, brings its total solar capacity to 19.8 MW and puts the co-op closer to its goal of providing members with 100-percent daytime solar by 2022. KCEC, a former Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association member, partnered with Denver-based wholesale provider Guzman Energy on the project. Other projects under development will bring the co-op’s total renewables capacity to 53 MW, including solar and storage.