Utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) will help Global Clean Energy Holdings Inc. (GCEH) lower its operating costs and carbon footprint at GCEH’s Bakersfield Renewable Diesel Refinery in California.

Under a newly signed master services agreement, PG&E will identify, design and implement “behind the meter” renewable generation and energy management projects at the California facility, GCEH said last week.

“Combining the talents and extensive experience of GCEH’s energy and sustainability team with that of PG&E’s provides a winning combination in helping the refinery site to be a more profitable and a more sustainable operation, while doing its part to address the impacts of climate change,” said GCEH CEO Richard Palmer.

PG&E’s Sustainable Solutions Turnkey (SST) team is to act as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, overseeing EPC as well as commissioning and permitting for each approved project, according to GCEH. 

Projects under consideration include an onsite solar plant, heat recovery from the refinery’s hydrotreating process to generate electricity and process steam, lighting, variable frequency drives, energy storage, HVAC upgrades, building controls and boiler plant improvements.

“These projects are intended to significantly reduce the refinery’s operating costs and further reduce the carbon intensity of our finished renewable transportation fuels,” Palmer said.

GCEH noted that PG&E would launch the collaboration by issuing a contract opportunity announcement for a 10 MW solar plant at the Bakersfield site. Moreover, the refiner has purchased two electric railcar movers that should qualify for “substantial cost savings” via PG&E’s “EV Fleet” incentive program. The company also expects the projects to increase the value of low-carbon fuel standard credits from the sale of the refinery’s renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, renewable propane and renewable naphtha.

“Our SST team is perfectly positioned to assist customers like GCEH drive significant cost and carbon reductions behind the meter by designing and installing ‘state-of-the-art’ green energy systems,” said PG&E’s Aaron August, vice president of Business Development and Customer Engagement.

GCEH is converting the Bakersfield facility — a former Big West refinery it acquired in May 2020 — to produce renewable diesel. It noted the retooling and construction project, slated to conclude early next year, would yield the largest U.S. facility for producing renewable fuels from non-food-based feedstocks.