San Jose company wants to build $59 million temporary power plant

By TIM MORAN

Nov 14, 2000 (The Modesto Bee)—A San Jose company is proposing to build a $59 million temporary power plant on Warnerville Road southeast of Oakdale.

The 86.4 megawatt natural gas turbine power plant is being proposed by Calpine Power Co. It would be built under contract to the California Independent System Operator, as part of a strategy to alleviate power shortages next summer.

Calpine operates 46 power plants around the country and has others under construction and in the application process in California, including one near Yuba City that will provide power to the Modesto Irrigation District.

The Independent System Operator is the agency that runs the state's power grid.

After power shortages, skyrocketing electricity prices and threats of rolling blackouts this past summer, the agency agreed to pay up to $255 million to contractors for temporary power plants.

The projects, in Santa Clara and San Francisco as well as Stanislaus County, would go through a "fast-track" four-month licensing process with the energy commission.

A normal power plant takes about a year to get approval and up to two years for construction.

A series of hearings will be held on the Warnerville plant to consider a variety of issues, from air quality to noise and sight issues.

Calpine proposes to build its plant on privately owned farmland near another large structure, the Hetch Hetchy Water and Power Co. Warnerville Substation.

The first informational hearing on the gas plant will be at 5 p.m. Friday in the Oakdale City Council chamber, 277 N. Second Ave.

A public visit to the proposed site is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday.

If approved by the California Energy Commission, the plant would operate for three years starting in August.

After three years, the temporary generation plant would either have to be relicensed as a permanent plant meeting stricter air emissions standards, or be decommissioned.

Stanislaus County officials were caught off guard by the power plant proposal.

County Planning Director Ron Freitas said Monday that neither the Board of Supervisors nor the Planning Commission had been notified of the project.

Freitas said he wasn't sure what local approval processes might be eliminated in a fast-track approval, which is authorized under the California Energy Security and Reliability Act, a state law enacted recently to deal with power shortages.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District knew of the project. Scott Nester, supervising air quality engineer, said temporary plants probably make sense as a short-term solution to the state's energy problems.

"We've got to have electricity, and it's got to come from somewhere," Nester said.

The turbines used in the temporary plants would generate 5 parts per million of nitrogen oxides, an element of smog, according to Katherine Potter, public relations director for Calpine.

That's far more efficient than peak power plants that were built just a few years ago, which generate about 9 parts per million, Nester said.

New permanent gas turbine plants meet a 2 parts per million standard, however. If the temporary plants are converted to permanent status after three years, they would have to be upgraded to meet that standard.

The temporary plants are far cleaner than the diesel generators that were called into service during the summer, both Nester and Potter pointed out. They would only be operated during hot summer days when the power was needed, Potter said.

At Friday's meeting in Oakdale, officials will describe the project to the public and tell them how they can participate in the approval process, Potter said.

"There will be a series of local workshops on a variety of topics," she said. They include air quality, visual impact, biological effects on wildlife, water usage and human health and safety issues.

"The burden is on Calpine to provide information. If we don't, it won't be licensed," she said.

The plant would include two gas turbines, a 50-foot-tall emissions stack and a catalytic converter structure to clean the air emissions, according to Potter.

The turbines are "very quiet" and make good neighbors, Potter said.

Economics could be another stumbling block for the temporary plant, Potter said. Calpine typically builds plants for a 15- or 20-year life cycle.

Calpine would be reimbursed by the Independent System Operator for guaranteeing that the plant is available when it is needed. It would also be able to sell power into the California market as long as it doesn't interfere with the system operator needs.

The Independent System Operator is projecting an energy shortage of about 5,000 megawatts next summer. If the shortage isn't met by conservation or new electricity resources, there could be rolling blackouts throughout the state.

The temporary plant strategy was approved by the system governors on Oct. 4.

For more information on the Warner-ville power plant proposal, visit the California Energy Commission Web site at www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/warnerville.

For more coverage from The Modesto Bee, or to start home delivery, go to http://www.modbee.com

(c)2000 The Modesto Bee. All Rights Reserved.

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

Duke Energy Florida argues for late change in supply plan

The NRG Florida LP unit of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), which wants to sell power to Duke Energy Florida from its power plant in Florida, or sell the plant itself to Duke, isn’t happy with a new Duke plan to buy a competitor’s power plant instead.

Calpine to buy gas-fired power plant from Exelon for $530mn

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter

Products Showcase

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Latest News

Shutterstock coal production trucks

Weekly Coal Production

The Weekly Coal Production shows how much coal is being produced across the U.S.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Weekly Economic Indicators financial business

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Economic Indicators

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas offers a glimpse into how the markets are doing domestical...

Kvaerner awarded contract for gas-fired power plant in Delaware

Kvaerner North American Construction Inc. and its joint venture partner, Parsons Brinckerhoff...

Canadian Solar purchases two solar projects

Canadian Solar Inc. has acquired a majority interest in two utility-scale solar power project...

Operators Restart Unit 2 at PPL Susquehanna

Unit 2 at the PPL Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick, Pa. resumed generating electr...

Settlement agreement limits cost recovery at Edwardsport

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on Dec. 27 modified and approved a settlemen...

Toshiba in talks to sell portion of Westinghouse nuclear unit

Toshiba Corp is in talks  to sell up to 16% of its stake in the Westinghouse Electric Co...

Utah nixes nuclear waste storage facility

Plans to park radioactive waste at a storage facility in Utah have been officially called off.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Current Issue

10/01/2014
Volume 118, Issue 10
1410pe-cover

Power Industry Wire News

BASF Brings Hands-On Science to More Than 2,000 Schoolchildren During National Chemistry Week

BASF Brings Hands-On Science to More Than 2,000 Schoolchildren During National Chemistr...

SCS-Certified Products Among Top 10 Products Honored by BuildingGreen at Greenbuild 2014

SCS-Certified Products Among Top 10 Products Honored by BuildingGreen at Greenbuild 2014

Arabella Exploration Backs Into Additional Acreage

Arabella Exploration Backs Into Additional Acreage

FLIR Systems Announces Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results

FLIR Systems Announces Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results

Despite Declining Demand, BASF Increases Sales and Earnings in the Third Quarter of 2014

Despite Declining Demand, BASF Increases Sales and Earnings in the Third Quarter of 2014

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>


Power Engineering Newscasts

EPA chief: carbon caps will boost economy
Australia, Russia enter nuclear power agreement with Argentina
Largest battery energy storage in North America now operational
EPA chief: carbon caps will boost economy Largest battery energy storage in North America now operational Australia, Russia enter nuclear power agreement with Argentina Texas’ Panda Temple combined cycle plant up and running
Siemens agrees to acquire Dresser-Rand
Safety concrete poured at UAE nuclear reactor power project
Foster Wheeler to upgrade natural gas-fired power plant’s emission controls
GE, TransCanada partner on natural gas turbine design
Energy storage global market to grow to $15.6B by 2024; DOE awards $2M to support taller wind turbine towers; Hinkley Point C nuclear project have financial incentives approved; N.J. company building waste-to-energy project in Ireland