The two main competitors to natural gas vehicles (NGV) in the transportation fuel sector -- biodiesel and propane -- received a boost from the California Energy Commission (CEC) earlier this month, with nearly $2 million in grants from the state alternative fuel production and vehicles fund, which has also given several million dollars to NGV programs this year. A Northern California-based firm, Yokayo Biofuels Inc., will get $1.86 million from the CEC to expand and upgrade its facilities. Production capacity is supposed to grow from 1,400 to 2,000 gallons/d, the CEC said. Yokayo uses an enzymatic process that is supposed to be environmentally cleaner and more efficient than current methods for producing biodiesel. The CEC also doled out $114,000 to Big Valley Ford Inc., a Ford dealer in Stockton, CA, for the state's buy-down program allowing 19 propane gas-powered vehicles to be purchased with the grant helping to pay the difference between alternative fuel vehicles and conventional ones.
California's three major private-sector utilities met the state's 20% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal last year, according to a report the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) filed with the state legislature. Each of the utilities -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (20.1%), Southern California Edison Co. (21.1%), and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. (20.8%) -- exceeded the goal, collectively having 20.6% of their power supplies come from renewable sources. In 2011, the utilities recorded the greatest year-to-year growth in renewable generation since the state established the RPS in 2003. The CPUC made its report as the 370 MW Ivanpah solar photovoltaic (PV) reached the halfway point in construction on 3,500 acres in the eastern Mojave Desert in California, about 40 miles from Las Vegas, NV. The $2.2 billion Ivanpah project is one of nine solar projects approved by the CEC on an accelerated basis in 2010.
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