MasTec to build campus for California biorefinery

By California Ethanol & Power LLC | July 16, 2020

California Ethanol + Power’s Imperial Valley project takes a significant step forward as the company announces it has reached a target price agreement with leading national infrastructure developer MasTec Power Corp. MPC, has provided a $610 million pricing target to build the energy campus, to be named Sugar Valley Energy, consisting of sugarcane-to-ethanol, sugarcane to low-carbon power plus bio-methane and wastewater treatment plants.

California Ethanol + Power (CE+P) has been approved and environmentally certified for the development of Sugar Valley Energy on 160 acres within the 5,000-acre master-planned Keystone Industrial Complex in Imperial County, California, near the city of Brawley. According to a February 2020 economic analysis by Circle Analytics, the new energy campus is projected to generate more than $1.2 billion in direct investment and create long-term local employment opportunities in Imperial County.

“Partnering with MPC is a major milestone for this project,” said Dave Rubenstein, president and CEO of California Ethanol + Power, which was formed to develop facilities to produce low carbon, fuel-grade ethanol from sugarcane. “We are proud to have a world-class energy facility developer behind Sugar Valley Energy. MPC’s expertise will enhance our ability to build the first low-carbon energy facility using sugarcane in the country.”

With this commitment in place, MPC is now moving forward with a limited notice-to-proceed and will be working on the detailed engineering and costing for the energy campus. CE+P expects to finalize financing in mid-2020, and for the plant to commence operations in 2023.

“MPC is eager to participate in this project, as CE+P leads the way of providing low-carbon energy to California,” said Michael DonMoyer, MPC’s executive vice president. “As the project proceeds, we look forward to partnering with CE+P to help provide renewable and sustainable energy along with boosting jobs and economic activity in Imperial County and the State of California.”

The development of Sugar Valley Energy will establish critical infrastructure for the planned 5,000-acre Keystone Industrial Complex, offering sites for future light industrial and manufacturing operations. Sugar Valley Energy will help enable these sites to have access to critical water treatment and energy capacity nearby.

A significant part of the vision for Sugar Valley Energy is to contract with local agricultural producers to ultimately establish an estimated 50,000 acres of sugarcane production in the Imperial Valley. The sugarcane crop will be used to produce 68 million gallons of low-carbon ethanol each year, allowing the development to help meet the state of California’s established emissions reductions, renewable energy and lowcarbon energy goals.

Economic Impact of Sugar Valley Energy

A third-party economic impact analysis was completed by Circle Analytics in February. This report outlined both the one-time benefits and the on-going economic impacts. Report estimates that the development/construction phases plus one year of operations will generate the following economic impacts for Imperial County:

• 15,122 total jobs benefited, including full and part-time with an average $37,423 per job benefited, including those associated with pre-development, construction, agriculture and facility operations

• $1.73 billion in Gross Economic Output, (total economic impact).

• $928.2 million in Gross County Product, (amount of local impact within Imperial County).

• $565.9 million in Total Labor Income, (wage paying dollars).

• $294.3 million in Capital Income (non-labor benefits)

• $68.0 million in Indirect Business Taxes and Fees.

In choosing a name for the industrial campus, CE+P drew inspiration from the region’s agricultural heritage and the promise of its primary feedstock. “We believe Sugar Valley Energy will not only represent a better power source, but it will be a source for a better life for many in the Imperial Valley,” added Rubenstein.