For Immediate Release: March 7, 1997
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916-654-4989

Five California Firms Receive Funds
To Explore Energy Markets Abroad

Five California firms looking for energy business opportunities abroad have each received funding of $25,000 from the California Energy Commission.

The companies will utilize the seed money to conduct feasibility studies and other pre-construction activities that could ultimately lead to energy projects overseas. Last month, ZAP Power Systems of Sebastopol, a previous fund recipient, signed an agreement with China's biggest bicycle maker to produce ZAP electric bicycles in Shanghai.

The five companies, their proposed projects and target countries are:

"California energy companies have tremendous products and expertise that can be marketed abroad," said Energy Commission Acting Chair Sally Rakow. "This program advances the worldwide use of clean-burning technologies and positions the state’s companies to gain business in world energy markets."

Created by the Legislature in 1988, the Commission's International Energy Fund provides seed money for California-based energy firms to conduct pre-construction activities in foreign countries. This offsets some of the advantage enjoyed by Japanese and European competitors heavily-backed by their governments.

The fund, administered by the Commission's Energy Technology Export Program, requires applicants to provide matching funds for their pre-construction activities. Ventures such as feasibility studies and market and site assessment and analysis are the crucial early stages of overseas project planning that often dictate selection for the job.

The Commission requires regular reports on the projects undertaken. Awards plus interest are reimbursed to the Commission when the recipient companies earn revenue and positive cash flow from a specific project. The returned funds are used for future funding cycles.

Members of the news media wishing further information should contact:

(Below are fact sheets about each of the five companies and their projects.)


General Power, LLC

General Power, LLC is a San Diego-based energy development company with comprehensive experience in district heating systems, cogeneration and independent power projects.

About the Project:

The company will use the funds to establish the feasibility of developing, financing, constructing and operating a gas-fired district cooling system in Mexicali, in the southern Mexican state of Baja California.

Mexicali, a desert city with temperatures consistently in the 100s, is the site of a large number of international companies and industrial facilities frequently in need of cooling systems due to sensitive manufacturing equipment.

A district wide cooling system of underground pipes that will also service commercial firms, government buildings, schools and houses, fills this need.

General Power, LLC will reimburse the Commission from revenues received as a developer.

Leading Edge Engineering, Inc.

The San Diego-based company has a track record in power plant design, contruction and operation and in the development of solar, wind and fossil-fired power projects.

About the Project:

The company will use the funds to determine the economic and financial viability of wind power projects in the Philippines. Proposed feasibility work includes data evaluation, resource assessment, preliminary engineering, economic and market analyses and assessment of competition, regulatory requirements and institutional issues related to project development in that country.

With potential island sites already identified, the company has formed a project team to focus on the development of midsize wind turbines in the 100 kilowatt to 200 kilowatt range which are most suited for the Philippine market and meets the energy demand of remote islands identified by the National Power Corporation of the Philippines.

Leading Edge Engineering, Inc. will reimburse the Commission through revenues generated from this project.

Wellhead Electric Company, Inc.

Located in Sacramento, Wellhead Electric Company, Inc. specializes in gas-fired cogeneration projects, and also has experience in biomass project operation. The company has been involved in the development and completion of nine projects in California.

About the Project:

The company will use the funds to evaluate the feasibility of using orange peels and pulp in a 7-8 megawatt biomass energy system to produce electricity and steam for two citrus processing plants in the Central American country of Belize. The project will result in lower electricity costs for the plants; its use of orange peel waste as biomass fuel will eliminate landfill waste.

The feasibility study will result in an engineering report and design concept and the execution of a power purchase agreement, a financing plan and construction subcontracts. The company expects the project to be in operation by mid-1998.

The company will reimburse the Commission from revenues received as a developer.

Silk Roads, Limited

Silk Roads, Limited, a financial consulting and project development company with offices in Sacramento and San Francisco, has trained its sights on Southeast Asia and South China. It focuses on services to transfer, develop and commercialize appropriate environmental and renewable energy technologies in those parts of the globe.

About the Project:

Silk Roads will use the funds to conduct a feasibility study of an energy plant that uses municipal waste in the central Philippine city of Talisay, in the province of Negros Occidental. The study will determine the viability of converting methane gas to electricity, from the organic waste component of Talisay's solid waste refuse.

The company will reimburse the Commission from revenues received as a developer.

AeroVironment, Inc.

AeroVironment, Inc. of Monrovia just outside Los Angeles, is a research, engineering and manufacturing company. It markets remote sensing technologies for weather forecasting worldwide. AeroVironment, a wind energy developer since 1977, also has created a remote sensing product for use in wind farms.

About the Project:

AeroVironment, Inc. will use the funds to conduct pre-feasibility activities in South Australia to introduce its remote sensing device while exploring a wind farm project in the region. Proposed activities include resource assessment, data collection, market analyses and evaluation of regulatory requirements.

The company has identified Australia as a future market for wind energy generation, and wind power products and services. For example, the South Australian government has set a goal of 300 megawatts of wind generation by the year 2003, in the same year that it targets to replace 20 percent of its power with alternative energy sources.

AeroVironment, Inc. will reimburse the Commission through revenues generated from marketing its remote sensing products in Australia.

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