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Texas Solar Project Sold to CIP

LCG, July 31, 2020—An affiliate of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners has completed purchase of a 350 MW solar photovoltaic project near the Houston metro area from Solar Plus Development Inc. and Avondale Solar.

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PG&E and Tesla Commence Construction on the Moss Landing Battery Energy Storage System

LCG, July 30, 2020--PG&E and Tesla have commenced construction of the 182.5-MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) at PG&E's electric substation in Moss Landing in Monterey County, California.

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Industry News

'Erin Brokovitch' Shows Up in PG&E Bankruptcy

LCG, Jan. 8, 2002--U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Dennis Montali, who is in charge of the Chapter 11 case of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in San Francisco, is expected to rule, perhaps this week, in which court some personal injury 1,250 claims related to the 'Erin Brokovich' case should be heard.

PG&E lawyers say bankruptcy law requires that personal injury and wrongful death claims be moved to a U.S. district court, "ensuring that the claims are dealt with uniformly and as expeditiously as possible," but plaintiff lawyers say that a shift in venue would unfairly delay a decision.

Montali will decide if the claims should be transferred to a U.S. district court in San Francisco, as sought by PG&E, or heard in state court in Los Angeles.

The 1,250 claims are contained in 15 class action lawsuits on behalf of people seeking $500 million for alleged personal injuries involving chromium-contaminated drinking water near the utility's natural gas pumping stations at Kettleman and Topock, Calif., west of Bakersfield.

PG&E admits that it used chromium in the cooling systems of the substation and that some of it may have leached out of settling ponds into the aquifer, but denies that it caused any health problems. The company quit using the element in 1966 and in the early 1980s bought up about 12 houses in the area and began treating the ground water to remove the chromium. No one needed to tell the utility to do so.

Enter Erin Brokovich, an attractive (in a trailer park sort of way) novice legal secretary who was researching some real estate documents for her boss. She stumbled on the then-old chromium story and convinced her boss to breathe new life into it.

The case went to arbitration before a panel of retired judges who awarded the first batch of 39 plaintiffs $121 million. PG&E said the judges were persuaded by "junk science."

By 1996, PG&E was on the ropes and a major movie was in the making. The utility agreed on July 2 of that year to settle the suits for $333 million without admitting wrongdoing.

"We have not had before anything we would consider a significant environmental lawsuit," said then general counsel for PG&E, Robert Borden.

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