In a dusty valley roughly 20 miles outside Bakersfield, Calif., stands a power plant that Kern County’s economy has relied on for more than 20 years. The Mt. Poso Cogeneration Company (MPCC) has been one of the highest-paying industrial employers in the area since it began firing coal in 1989. But the subsequent two decades brought national security concerns over fossil fuel dependence, technological advancements in renewable energy and a growing sense of environmental responsibility.
After California began requiring its electric utility companies to derive an increasing percentage of their retail sales from renewable energy sources, a renewal of the original 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) on which the plant’s existence hinged seemed less and less likely.
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