Chevron spills 800,000 gallons of oil and water in Kern County canyon

California authorities said Friday that crews are beginning to clean up a massive oil spill that dumped nearly 800,000 gallons of oil and water into a Kern County canyon, making it larger — if less devastating — than the state’s last two major oil spills.

The seep, which has been flowing off and on since May, has again stopped, said Chevron spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua, with the last flow Tuesday.

She and California officials said the spill is not near any waterway and has not significantly affected wildlife.

Chevron reported that 794,000 gallons of oil and water have leaked out of the ground where it uses steam injection to extract oil in the large Cymric Oil Field about 35 miles west of Bakersfield. The steam softens the thick crude so it can flow more readily — a different process from fracking, which breaks up underground layers of rock.

About 70% of the leaked fluid is water, Chevron said, meaning about 240,000 gallons of the mixture is oil.

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Solar firms heating up in the Valley

TULARE COUNTY – More renewable power will be flowing to community-based power providers across the state from new solar and wind farms heading to construction in the San Joaquin Valley. These are typically new customers for Valley solar and wind developers who in the past had to depend on power purchases from reluctant utility companies.

Just announced- the East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) board of directors has approved two power purchase agreements for a combined 157.5 megawatts from new wind and solar facilities, along with 30 megawatts of battery energy storage.

EBCE, a Community Choice energy Aggregation program serving most of Alameda County, approved the following contracts: a 20-year agreement to purchase 57.5 megawatts of wind from the Altamont Winds project in Alameda County and a 20-year agreement to purchase 100 megawatts of solar and 30 megawatts of energy storage from the Sonrisa Solar Park in Fresno County. In addition they have announced a preliminary deal to buy 56MW of solar energy from a proposed project in Tulare County called Luciana Solar.

Proposed new Central Valley utility-sale solar projects are more frequently selling their power to nearby Community Choice energy aggregators versus power sales to traditional utilities like SCE or PG&E. There are now 19 not-for-profit Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs operating in California and the market is growing as more communities are deciding to adopt this form of electricity distribution. Hanford for example, is considering becoming a CCA.

In this case, Alameda-based EBCE is a not-for-profit public agency that operates a Community Choice Energy program for Alameda County and eleven incorporated cities, serving more than 550,000 residential and commercial customers throughout the county.

Another example of the trend, just last year Japanese-owned Solar Frontier Americas was the winning bidder in two processes  acquiring a not-yet-built 56 megawatt project in Tulare County called Luciana and the proposed 210 MW Mustang Two solar project in Kings County from Canadian Solar’s development business Recurrent Energy. The deal was announced in December.

Located on 1,400 acres in Kings County, California, the Mustang Two project is expected to be operational in 2020. The project will then be operated by Solar Frontier Americas’ growing independent power producer business. Once this project is operational, the energy generated by the solar power facility will be split between two long-term power purchase agreements: Peninsula Clean Energy (the community choice energy agency which serves San Mateo County) is contracted to receive 100 MWac, and the Modesto Irrigation District will acquire 50 MWac. The combined energy generation will power 37,500 homes with clean electricity.

These CCAs, and other non-profit community-based energy providers including the East Bay group EBCE are eager for renewable energy their customers want as California moves to 100% renewables by 2045.

Wind farm to replace 569 older turbines

The Alameda group also looks to phase out fossil fuel power plants and older renewable technology. The Summit Wind Project located in  Altamont Pass near Livermore is located within EBCE’s territory and reflects the community choice provider’s commitment to invest in local, clean energy resources and deliver local benefits they say. The project will entail repowering (replacing) a former Altamont Pass wind farm which consisted of older less efficient wind turbines with ones that are state-of-the-art. San Diego-based Salk LLC will build the new wind farm and sell the energy to the East Bay customers. The 55-MW wind farm is just 35 miles outside Oakland.

Completion and operation of the Summit Wind Project is planned for late 2020. The repowering project will replace 569 one-hundred-kilowatt turbines with 23 modern turbines. Once completed, the repowered wind farm will generate more than 60 percent of its power for Alameda County during peak hours, including the afternoon and high-demand summer months, producing enough clean energy on average to power about 30,000 homes per year.

“More and more, communities want to aggressively address climate change and reducing the use of fossil fuels in our power mix is a big part of that. EBCE is adding new renewable energy generation capacity to the grid that will, in time, serve to phase out our reliance on fossil fuel while also stabilizing our energy costs,” said County Supervisor and EBCE Board Chair, Scott Haggerty.

Renewable energy will also replace fossil fuel now in the heart of Oakland. On June 5, the EBC board approved a contract with Vistra Energy to receive resource adequacy capacity from a 20 MW battery energy storage project that is currently planned to be built as a  partial replacement for an aging, fossil fuel-fired power plant located in the heart of Oakland.

A boom in Valley-based projects

Spokesperson for the Alameda group Annie Henderson says demand for renewable power “is just exploding much faster than state mandates” require because of the proliferation of community-based power providers from LA to the Bay Area  “It is happening much faster than before” she says, noting her Alameda group will be announcing more power purchases from other new San Joaquin Valley solar projects in July.

The Alameda board also gave a green light to a 56MW solar PPA with Solar Frontier Americas for Luciana Solar to be located in Tulare County. The project will be built in southern Tulare County located near Richgrove along Highway 65 says county planner Mike Washam, new to an already operational 20MW solar farm.

Next door in Fresno County the Sonrisa Solar Park project will produce 100MW of solar energy and 30MW of energy storage for  a partnership of Spanish and Portuguese-based utilities who are busy doing renewables in the U.S.

The Sonrisa Solar Park project now owned by EDPR will be located near Tranquility in Fresno County. Construction on the Sonrisa Project will begin in December 2021 and be operational in 2022. It will be EDPR’s first large scale renewable project with storage.

EDPR is already one of the world’s largest wind energy producers and also wants to develop wind energy off the California coast. The company’s footprint in the state includes three phases of the Rising Tree Wind Farm in Kern County as well as two phases of the Lone Valley Solar Park in San Bernardino County.  These projects produce enough clean electricity to annually power more than 101,000 average California homes.

The combination of solar with energy storage system was designed to increase efficiency and provide greater balance in energy supply, says the company.

 

Solar firms heating up in the Valley, by John Lindt, The Sun Gazette, July 10, 2019.

Franklin Energy Launches Innovative Energy Efficiency Pilot Using Online Gamification

Franklin Energy, a leading provider of energy efficiency and grid optimization solutions, announced today that they are launching the Home Energy Rewards Program, an online, reward-style energy efficiency program, to residential Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) customers.

The pilot program will be launched to a select number of residential customers in San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties. To be eligible for the pilot customers must be single-family residents who have lived in their homes 14 months prior to enrollment and are not participating in any other PG&E program.

Unlike typical energy efficiency programs, the Home Energy Rewards Program rewards customers based on the amount of energy they save – the more they save, the more points they earn. The more points they earn, the higher value gift card they can redeem.

Participating customers earn points right away when they establish their online account, then earn additional points for completing an online Home Energy Assessment. Based on that assessment, the customer receives personalized tips and recommendations for saving energy at home. As customers complete those energy-saving actions, their energy use goes down, resulting in additional reward points.

Customers can also receive a free kit filled with energy-efficient products, deep discounts on smart thermostats, rebates for qualifying smart thermostat installations, and free home energy reports—all designed to reduce their energy use, earn points and lower their utility bill.

The Home Energy Rewards Program is backed by NGAGE™, Franklin Energy’s proprietary technology platform for utilities to connect with customers and enable participation in utility programs throughout every user’s unique journey. NGAGE™ makes communications with customers simple, while increasing program engagement through personalized recommendations and integrated rewards. The platform also provides utility’s reporting and analytics from an integrated data set and supports partners like trade allies and retailers with customized implementation tools.
Customers can check their eligibility to participate in the pilot by visiting homeenergyrewards.com or calling 855-314-9967.

About Franklin Energy
Franklin Energy delivers, facilitates and implements flexible energy efficiency and grid optimization programs that enable utilities to achieve their highest-priority goals. The company’s integrated in-house services and proven software provide deeper personalization and insights for utilities, their customers and their partners alike. Franklin’s NGAGE™ platform is a scalable end-to-end solution that seamlessly integrates utility portfolio programs into a single web-based user interface for more efficient portfolio administration and more effective customer engagement. The company is celebrating its 25th year serving the utility industry, with solutions implemented by more than 1,000 experts in more than 60 offices across more than 25 states and provinces.

The Home Energy Rewards Program is funded by California utility customers and administered through PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The program is implemented and managed by Franklin Energy and their authorized representatives.

 

Franklin Energy Launches Innovative Energy Efficiency Pilot Using Online Gamification, Press Release, PR Vision, July 8, 2019.

Local and state efforts to electrify our vehicles will yield great benefits for everyone

 By Destiny Rodriguez

When I think of banks, I don’t think of these institutions as supporting pollution-free transportation or lowering greenhouse gas emissions and improving local air quality. However, Beneficial State bank is doing all three of these things by promoting clean vehicles in the Fresno area and throughout the Central Valley.

On June 11, 2019, Beneficial State bank invited me to attend their electric vehicle (EV) charging station ribbon cutting. The bank installed 10 new (EV) chargers available to the public. This project was funded by CALeVIP through the California Energy Commission. Center for Sustainable Energy manages the program locally.

The ribbon cutting garnered interest and attendance from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, local nonprofits, businesses, government and environmentalists alike. Supervisor Buddy Mendes spoke in support of this change sweeping across the nation, and how Fresno is now getting on board. Beneficial State bank is hopeful their example will lead to other business institutions offering (EV) charging for the area.

Gustavo Occhiuzzo, CEO for Green Commuter, cutting the ribbon during the ceremony.

“It takes a village to produce an electric vehicle ecosystem, there are a lot of moving parts here. It is not enough to just have the vehicles, we have to have the charging infrastructure so that everyone can benefit from electric transportation,” said Patty Monahan, Commissioner for the California Energy Commission.

Community Choice Energy could essentially help this effort for the Central Valley, as it also promotes clean energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to overall improve our air quality. It is inspiring to see these changes as a resident, and I am hopeful for what this means for our valley.

While these local efforts are key, state efforts are probably even more important. At the Center for Climate Protection, we are working to build a coalition to usher in a clean car revolution via sound policy at the state level. We were encouraged to see that the California Air Resources Board may be allocating money to creating a plan to transform our transportation system to all-electric vehicles at the speed necessary to meet our state greenhouse gas emission goals.

With both local and state efforts, we are optimistic that together we can implement the policies we need to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and at the same time, build a thriving green economy that serves everyone.

Does Fresno Need To Make An Energy Choice?

In the Fresno area, more than 750 manufacturing businesses use the bulk of electricity directed here by Pacific Gas & Electric, but the cost of that energy is among the most expensive in California, said Mike Betts, president and CEO of the Betts Co., a south Fresno manufacturer of industrial springs and truck accessories.

In fact, he noted that manufacturers here pay up to 40% percent more than manufacturers in coastal California.

“We’re also paying three to five times more for energy than other states, like Texas and Oklahoma. Manufacturing pays the bulk of the cost for the energy,” Betts said to the small audience attending the Fresno Community Choice Energy Business Forum June 5 at the Central Valley Community Foundation headquarters in Fresno.

Energy choice

Community Choice Energy — more commonly referred to as “Community Choice Aggregation” (CCA) — is a program California lawmakers approved in 2002 allowing cities and counties to individually or jointly purchase electricity on their own, allowing them to control prices and choose the source.

Currently, there are 19 CCAs, most in coastal and southern areas of the state, and Hanford is in the process of forming the Valley’s first CCA, while a proposal to fund a $60,000 research project to determine the pros and cons of forming a Fresno CCA has been included in the city’s budget proposal the city council has been hashing out this week.

Right choice for Fresno?

“The two big things I think will be very beneficial to Fresno in looking at securing the possibility of this in the future is, one, it will allow us to shape and really route the energy the way we want it to,” said Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez, who put forth the CCA study proposal and spoke at the June 5 event.

Though the study hasn’t been funded yet, Chavez said he believes forming a local CCA could provide savings for the low-income residents of his district, as well as savings that could serve as incentives for manufacturers to stay or locate here.

PG&E maintains a role

If a CCA is formed, it wouldn’t mean Fresno is getting into the energy business — at least not fully. While CCAs decide from where to purchase electricity and the rates charged to customers, distribution is still provided by the electrical utilities — PG&E among them — along with maintaining electrical poles and wires and other tasks to maintain the electrical grid.

As such, the utilities charge their own separate rates for their services, as well as handing the billing for themselves and the CCAs.

Besides being a speaker at last week’s event, Betts, who also is president of the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance, said he also was there to learn about CCAs and share that information with other Valley manufacturers to decided if they favor forming a Fresno CCA.

Rate hikes in the future

He said manufacturers are worried their energy costs are going to go up soon — perhaps considerably — as PG&E seems likely to have to pay billions of dollars in damages for its equipment reportedly causing a series of California wildfires in recent years, among them the devastating Camp Fire that destroyed more than 21,000 homes in parts of six counties in Northern California.

In April, the utility asked the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) permission for a rate hike estimated to cost residential customers about $22 more a month.

For manufacturers and other heavy energy users, cold storage businesses among them, the extra costs could be in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

Rate flexibility

While CCAs can’t prevent the utility’s hikes for distributing power, they could set their own rates low enough to somewhat offset the PG&E hikes.

In addition, Betts said, the CCAs that have formed have programs to help customers, which have included funding electric vehicle charging stations and others to offset some of the costs to buy electric vehicles.

“We want to know more about those programs — all of them — to understand the positive impacts not only [for] a business but on homeowners.”

Distribution practicalities

Officials with Santa Rosa-based Center for Climate Protection, which organized last week’s Fresno event, have noted that an important part of what CCAs do is choose from where they buy energy and how much of it comes from renewable sources — wind generators, solar, etc. —though in actuality even if contracts are signed with wind generator plants in the California desert and solar farms up north, that electricity wouldn’t go to customers in the client cities or counties. Instead, the electricity is directed into the electrical grid, from which all customers pull their electricity, and they’re charged for it at their set rates.

Right to opt out

Individual customers in any CCA have the right to opt out and get their services entirely from the utilities at their rates.

For his part, Chavez said even without a local CCA study, he believes one here could save residential and business customers money, because it would foster competition among energy suppliers, and the electrical utilities no longer would be alone shopping among power providers.

“And everybody knows, when you have competition, that causes prices to go down,” he said in an interview.

Summer stress

He said a major reason for the Valley’s higher rates compared to other parts of the state is that it gets so hot here in the summer months that electrical systems work harder due to the added demand from cooling homes and businesses, adding to the costs of running and maintaining electrical systems here.

Those added energy costs could determine whether some businesses stay or locate here, so it’s particularly important to find ways to reduce local electricity costs, he said.

Betts agreed, noting that part of the reason Hanford is forming a CCA is to offer Faraday Future, the electric car plant under development in the city, a break on its energy costs and to create an incentive to draw other businesses into the city.

“Industry, all of us, are very concerned about the environment, but I think we need to be realistic about what’s most important — good-paying jobs. And we don’t want to be scaring industry away from here. We want industry to want to come and invest here … and exorbitant energy costs will drive people from here,” Betts said.

 

Does Fresno Need To Make An Energy Choice?, by David Castellon, Fresno Business Journal, June 25, 2019.

Climate Change-Fueled Valley Fever is Hitting Farmworkers Hard

Victor Gutierrez doesn’t know when he contracted valley fever, an illness caused by a soil-borne fungus, but he’s narrowed it down to a few possible jobs he worked during the summer of 2011.

In the nectarine orchards, Gutierrez recalls, “the wind was really strong, and we were almost falling off our ladders. The dust would rise up in the fields and we would get lost in in [it].” The grape harvest that year wasn’t much better. “We would walk out of the vineyard with our faces full of dirt. Only our eyes were visible,” he said. When he showered at night, he could see the layer of soil washing off his body.

Late that summer, Gutierrez started experiencing flu-like symptoms—a cough, night sweats, exhaustion, and a strange feeling that he was burning up on the inside. Gutierrez ignored it and kept working for fear of losing his job. But when he struggled to breathe, he went to see a doctor, who gave him a dose of antibiotics and told him to buy a humidifier.

The next day his lungs filled up with fluid and he felt so bad that he went to a local clinic. This time, they tested him for valley fever, and it came back positive.

“The nurse called me and told me to rush to the clinic because it was an emergency,” he said. Gutierrez, who was 33 at the time and a father of three, had never heard of valley fever. He was told he might only have six months to live.

While Gutierrez managed to beat those odds by taking the antifungal medication fluconazole for more than a year, he has seen valley fever kill many other people he’s known. Of the five people he recalls seeing diagnosed with the fungal infection on that day in 2011, he said he’s the only survivor.

Still, valley fever remains dormant in his body—and it could come back at any point. Gutierrez still struggles with regular pain in his lungs and when he gets a cold or flu, he’s in bed for weeks.

Coccidioidomycosis or cocci (pronounced “coxy”) thrives in dry, undisturbed soil; it becomes airborne when that soil is disturbed—whether it’s by dirt bikes, construction crews, or farmers putting in new fruit or nut orchards. It can travel on the wind as far as 75 miles away. Years of climate change-fueled drought and a 240 percent increase in dust storms appear have led to a swift rise in the number of people diagnosed with the illness across the Southwest.

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Tulare County ready to make the ‘switch’ to solar

VISALIA – Tulare County is going green. Not with cannabis of course, but with energy.

Last week the Tulare County Board Supervisors, county staff and community members gathered to “Flip the Switch” at Government Plaza. The symbolic light switch denotes the County’s new partnership to implement a large-scale solar energy project at several County facilities, including Government Plaza, County Civic Center, Bob Wiley Detention Facility, and the new South County Detention Facility. The energy saving program is expected to generate approximately $40 million in savings over the next 25 years and reduce electricity spending by 70%.

“I knew Tulare County had many opportunities for electric generation and efficiency when I first joined the Board,” stated Chairman Kuyler Crocker. “ENGIE approached us with a proposal that would allow us to keep our reserves intact, but realize the cost savings. This large scale project will allow for future energy efficiency projects, maximize utility cost savings, and utilize precious taxpayer dollars for vital County Services.”

Aligning with the County’s Strategic Business Plan to promote fiscal and environmental responsibility, the new solar project is expected to eliminate carbon generated emissions equivalent to taking 2,700 cars of the road every year in use.

ENGIE Services designed, engineered and installed a total 9.2 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) power on solar shade parking structures and ground mount structures. In addition, the project includes 1 MW/2 MWh of battery energy storage systems to store electricity and maximize generation capacity.

“The ENGIE Services U.S. team has been proud to work with Tulare County over the past two years – helping deliver next generation energy solutions to help address both the financial and environmental challenges that many counties across California are faced with,” shared John Mahoney, CEO and President of ENGIE Services North America.

“By using a Solar PPA model combined with battery storage, Tulare County maximizes the economic value and resiliency of their energy infrastructure. Congratulations to the County on the launch of this next chapter of their energy transformation.»

The new renewable energy equipment is financed through a power purchase agreement with ENGIE Services allowing the County to pay zero upfront capital and the ability to lock in a low fixed electricity rate for the next 25 years. The new large-scale solar project is expected to be fully operational at all seven County sites by the Fall this year.

 

Tulare County ready to make the ‘switch’ to solar, by Sun Gazette Staff, The Sun Gazatte, June 12, 2019.

Program Expanding Electric Vehicle Charging in City of Fresno

A suite of electric vehicle (EV) chargers is now available to the public at Beneficial State Bank in Fresno, Calif., installed with the support of a partnership working to increase EV charging availability in Fresno County. The partnership’s goals are to support access to clean transportation, improve local air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Level 2 EV chargers, capable of partially charging an electric car while a driver runs errands, were installed using a variety of incentives and resources available to commercial property owners and others to purchase and install chargers at publicly accessible locations.

“Building out the public infrastructure for charging electric cars is critical to meeting state and regional goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve cleaner air for everyone,” said Andy Hoskinson, CSE’s senior manager for EV initiatives. “Projects like this one at Beneficial State Bank demonstrate how incentives and financial assistance programs play a central role in helping local communities develop clean transportation options for their residents.”

The California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP), funded by the California Energy Commission and managed by the CSE, reserved $40,000 for the charger installation at the bank site. CALeVIP’s Fresno County Incentive Project is providing up to $4 million in incentives to owners of commercial properties, apartments, condominiums, workplaces and public agencies for the purchase and installation of Level 2 EV chargers in the county.

“Making it easier to charge electric cars in Fresno is critical to this community’s transition from polluting petroleum-based vehicles to clean transportation, which will provide cleaner air and countless public health benefits,” said Energy Commissioner Patty Monahan. “The Energy Commission is proud to be working with our partners on this project and throughout the state to increase access to the charging infrastructure that makes this transition possible.”

Green Commuter, a startup supported by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, coordinated with Beneficial State Bank to apply for funding to install the 10 chargers. The company is a service that provides zero-emission vehicles for vanpool purposes, allowing passengers to commute together in areas including the Central Valley. During noncommuting hours, the vehicles are open for public car sharing.

The project at Beneficial State Bank also received $50,000 from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Charge Up! Program, which provides funding for businesses and public agencies in the Central Valley to purchase publicly accessible Level 2 chargers.

The chargers at Beneficial State Bank were also installed with the help of private capital loan financing through Pacific Enterprise Bank, a participating lender in the Pollution Control Financing Authority’s California Capital Access Program Electric Vehicle Charging Station Financing Program (CalCAP EVCS).

 

Program Expanding Electric Vehicle Charging in City of Fresno, by Chuck Colgan, The Center of Sustainable Energy, June 11, 2019.

Effort to allow electricity from large dams to count as renewable energy in California fails to pass

A controversial effort to broaden California’s definition of renewable energy has fizzled out. The proposal would have allowed electricity from a large dam in the Central Valley to count the same as solar and wind.

Under a law signed last year by former Gov. Jerry Brown aimed at reducing smog and greenhouse gas emissions, utilities in California are required to produce 60 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Large dams aren’t allowed to count toward that total, however. That rule dates back nearly 20 years, when state lawmakers wanted to increase investment in solar and wind projects, and did not want to increase demand for construction of big new dams on rivers, which kill salmon and have other environmental impacts.

But State Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, introduced the bill earlier this year to allow two utilities, the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts, to count the electricity generated by turbines at Don Pedro Reservoir, which they jointly own, toward their 60 percent mandate.

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With So Many Electric Cars, Why Not Electric Tractors?

There are many different models of electric cars—they are even mainstream in most  U.S. cities and other countries—and now farmers may soon have electric tractors to use in specialty crops in California.

Bakur Kvezereli is president and CEO of Ztractor, the first autonomous electric tractor for specialty crops. Kvezereli, who is based in Palo Alto, explained why the tractor is being developed in California.

“First, California is our market. Second, we teamed up with some great engineers, who graduated from Stanford, and my school, which was MIT. We were friends, and we wanted to look into this technology looking to replace the 25 or 30 HP diesel motor as well as the 30-gallon diesel,” he said.

“And we started as an electric tractor company in September 2017. And in two months, we realized that to achieve an electric tractor, you have to find a solution for making it autonomous,” Kvezereli explained.

“We now have three models in our manufacturing pipeline. One 24 horsepower will be available to the farmers this year. The next model will be a bigger tractor, 45 horsepower, which will be available 2020, and a 125 horsepower will be available in 2021.”

“Our basic tractor will have all the usual features found in most other tractors. The premium model line will have more features, especially on the software and hardware area. The zTractors will have no emissions and no hydraulics—just strong torque power.”

A four-hour charge will provide 6 to 10 hours of work in the field. “It requires only level two charging similar to car charging.  “We are exploring a better battery, however currently it is the nickel ion technology,” Kvezereli said

“Horsepower is where we estimate the metrics for a tractor. What we think farmers care about is torque. In electric, to achieve higher torque is much easier than to achieve it with diesel power, and electric technology in general is very reliable for many types of tasks,” said Kvezereli.

The electric tractors keep the same three-point hitch as well as a PTO, both electrically operated.

“We build everything based on the requirements for the PTO and three-point hitch, and I think that’s what makes the Ztractor different from any other robotics companies that will provide a better tractor. It’s a general purpose and can replace a regular traditional tractor,” he said.

The main farming operations will be strawberry  vineyards and vegetable operations. The tasks will include soil preparation and crop management. Harvest tasks are not yet available.

The prices for the tractors, calculated at $1,000 per horsepower, are similar to traditional tractors.

 

Electric Tractors Will Soon Be Available, by Patrick Cavanaugh, California Ag Today, June 5, 2019.