Kern County

Since the first wind turbine was built here in 1981, Kern County has fully embraced the development of alternative energy. We have a diverse alternative energy portfolio that includes biomass, natural gas, wind, and solar. This diversity means that different types of energy production can operate at different times for a hybrid profile that mitigates the duck-curve issue of solar which has always been a problem. In this year alone over 11,000 megawatts of renewable energy was produced, making Kern County the number-one source of renewable energy in the state. Kern County is an ideal location for solar development. Our expansive desert floors make large- scale development possible, and our dry climate ensures clear skies that allow more sunshine to reach solar panels. Our proximity to a major load center is another factor that contributes to Kern County’s dominance in this sector as energy produced in Kern County can be transferred and used in the Los Angeles basin and other urban centers. With our streamlined permitting process and business-friendly approach, the County has also developed public-private partnerships for renewable energy that have resulted in over $30 billion of private investment since 2009. The economic outlook of the renewable energy sector in Kern is bright. If you have a company and an idea, we welcome you, and we will do everything we can to make your business plan happen.

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The Renewable Energy Ordinance (REO) was adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on December 13, 2016 and becomes effective on January 12, 2017. The REO updates the County’s planning and zoning code for the review and permitting of solar and wind energy projects. The ordinance helps California meet its goals for renewable energy generation and greenhouse gas reduction, while minimizing environmental and community impacts. The REO incentivizes small-scale solar and wind projects that generate energy for on-site use, and structure mounted projects such as on rooftops and over parking lots. The ordinance accomplishes this by establishing a simplified, streamlined permitting process.

The ordinance also provides comprehensive regulations for ground- mounted utility-scale solar facilities, many of which are located in the Antelope Valley, which reflect the need for careful review of these projects in order to minimize environmental and community impacts. These requirements include placing transmission lines underground and incorporating measures designed to minimize fugitive dust. The standards and conditions established in the REO gives the County the tools to effectively regulate utility scale projects while providing clear expectations to applicants and the public on project outcomes.

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Lancaster Choice Energy, the first municipal community choice aggregator in the State of California, continues to make great strides in providing Lancaster residents with easy access to renewable energy. In August 2016, Lancaster Choice Energy – or LCE – received the prestigious designation of Green Power Community from the Environmental Protection Agency. Lancaster is the first community to receive this designation in all of Southern California. Lancaster is currently using more than 15 million kilowatt-hours of solar and wind energy annually – enough to power in excess of 1,400 homes.

LCE reached a new milestone in mid-December 2016, when independent energy producer and LCE partner sPower’s Western Antelope Dry Ranch facility went live. This utility-scale solar power resource marks the City’s first such project, and promises to help propel Lancaster toward its long-term sustainability goals. Western Antelope Dry Ranch will serve up to 10 megawatts of renewable energy directly to Lancaster Choice Energy customers. LCE holds a 20- year power purchase agreement for the facility, which is expected to power more than 1,800 local homes.

In an effort to further the development of programs which aid in expediting the adoption of clean energy initiatives, LCE was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant from the California Energy Commission. LCE received the funding in partnership with the Zero Net Energy Alliance. As one of only two cities in California to receive this funding, Lancaster will serve as a pilot city for the program, with the ultimate goal of becoming a true Net Zero community.

Lancaster Choice Energy continues to proactively pursue new opportunities to incorporate renewable energy into the community’s energy portfolio. LCE is currently working to develop three new sites for renewable energy production, each of which will provide three megawatts of energy once operational. These additional nine megawatts of local power will be utilized to contribute to LCE’s power portfolio and may power special programs in the community. LCE released a request for information at the end of December 2016 seeking information from prospective developers.

BHE Renewables - Rosamond and West Lancaster

SolarStar_Pic1Situated in the heart of the renewable energy corridor in California’s Antelope Valley, the collocated 586-megawatt Solar Star projects are among the largest solar photovoltaic projects in the world. The projects span 3,200 acres in Kern and Los Angeles counties and are under long-term power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison.

The projects are owned by BHE Renewables, an industry leader in ownership of renewable energy generation.The Solar Star projects utilize approximately 1.7 million SunPower monocrystalline silicon modules that are mounted on single-axis tracking technology and generate electricity with no emissions or waste.

It is estimated that the Solar Star projects displace 570,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually and have the potential to power approximately 255,000 average California households. BHE Renewables is proud to be a member of the local communities near its projects and is constructing a 10,000 square-foot operations and maintenance building near Rosamond, California.

BHE Renewables is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, a global energy provider. Since 2012, BHE Renewables has invested extensively in solar, wind, geothermal and hydro projects. As a long-term owner of assets, the company’s photovoltaic solar projects include the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.; the 586-megawatt Solar Star projects; and a 49 percent ownership interest in the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente project in Yuma County, Ariz.
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Southern California Edison (SCE)

Renewable Power for Southern California by SCE

Wind farms and solar plants typically are located in remote areas, far from where most of us live and work. To deliver wind and solar power to Southern California homes and businesses, our infrastructure must be expanded and upgraded. Our Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project is the nation’s largest wind energy delivery infrastructure, and it’s one of many strategic investments we’re making to provide more renewable power.

The Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project will deliver electricity from new wind farms in the Tehachapi area to SCE customers and the California transmission grid. Consisting of new and upgraded electric transmission lines and substations between eastern Kern County and San Bernardino County, it plays a vital role in meeting California’s renewable energy goal of 33 percent by the year 2020.

World Wind Solar (WWS)

World Wind and Solar website:

When 2015 got underway, the renewable energy industry thought the sky was falling. Debating the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline was all the rage. California’s clean energy mandate was just 33 percent, and affordable home batteries were a glint in Elon Musk’s eye. Now, the Antelope Valley can breathe a sigh of relief, buoyed by victories in congress and California. Keystone is dead. California has a 50 percent clean energy mandate, and Tesla has “disrupted” the world of energy storage. Here a rundown of the big stories:

  • California raised electricity rates
  • Obama rejects the Keystone pipeline
  • California maintains rooftop solar incentives
  • Tesla announces its incredible battery plan
  • Obama launches his Clean Power Plan
  • California adopts 50% clean energy mandates
  • Solar and wind tax credits are extended
  • The world’s leaders agreed on a climate agreement in Paris (impacting the AV)


WWS provides service in more than 20 states to a diversified client portfolio of 25 companies, including some of the largest renewable asset owners in the Antelope Valley. WWS provides construction, operations and maintenance services to both wind and solar projects. The company employs a team of skilled personnel and anticipates ongoing growth as demand for renewable energy continues. In the last two years, we significantly expanded the number of employees to 92, adding to the Antelope Valley’s job growth and economy.

WWS is often recognized for its achievements in the industry and the community. Recent awards include the City of Tehachapi Kern Small Energy Business Award, Certificate of Recognition from Kern County Small Business Week, California State Senate 2014 Exceptional Energy Owned Small Business of Kern County, and U.S. House of Representatives 2014 Small Business Luncheon Certificate of Recognition for Energy Owned Business.

Trends in Renewables in the AV

We see a number of trends that will shape the renewable energy industry in the Antelope Valley in the upcoming year. They are:

  • A significant increase in the number of commercial and utility scale solar projects
  • Older wind projects will be re-powered with newer, larger wind turbines
  • Municipalities will become the energy off taker of community renewable projects
  • Large corporations and large commercial users of electricity will use renewable sources such as wind and solar to offset their energy use
  • Battery storage will continue to evolve

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