The Crescent City Harbor District should be solar powered by June 30, 2020, a year and a half later than originally intended. If American Diversified Energy, LLC (ADE), the contracted company, fails to complete the project by that date, they will have to pay a $350,000 penalty.
At the harbor commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 7, the harbor commissioners reviewed and edited the second amendment of the solar energy power purchase and license agreement. As soon as all the necessary parties sign the amendment, the solar power project’s construction can finally begin.
In 2018, the Crescent City Harbor contracted with Renewable Energy Capital, LLC, (REC) after seeing the finished solar project they conducted at the Humboldt Bay Harbor District. However, since REC had a full list of projects already on their agenda, they assigned the project to ADE.
ADE was supposed to commence the construction in the summer of 2018 and complete it by December, but they had to extend the deadline to Dec. 31, 2019. Yet, it still never got completed, and no one knew exactly why.
“No one really said anything, but we think they just ran into cash flow problems and had they extended themselves too much,” said Harbor Master Charlie Helms. “We don’t really know.”
Upon seeing the neglected project, Alex Lemus from REC took it upon himself to ensure the project would get finished.
“When he saw that it wasn’t happening I think it really just, it really was an ethical thing on his part,” Helms said. “He stepped up when he didn’t have to at all and jumped in to make sure that we’ll get a solar energy project completed.”
With an amended agreement and a penalty fine on the table, ADE is set to be completed by June 30 of this year, and the agreement will emphasise the project must be fully completed. The only edit the commissioners made to the amendment was clarifying that “completed” mean 100% finished and operating.
Beginning in June, the solar power project will power the entire harbor for 25 years, making the Crescent City harbor the only green, tsunami resistant harbor on the entire west coast, according to the Deputy Harbor Master Lane Tavasci.
“We’re all excited about that. We’re trying to go, as much as we can, on green and making this a sustainable harbor,” Tavasci said.
Having the harbor solar powered will also save 20 to 25% of the harbor’s electric bill, which reaches over $200,000 a year.
“Del Norte County is a wide open field for solar and… everybody in Del Norte County, and we’re talking Del Norte County itself and the city of Crescent City, are watching how this project goes,” Tavasci said.