Emergency permitting clears way for new generation in California


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Apr. 4, 2001—In a flurry of activity, staff at the California Energy Commission has recommended approval of 675 MW in power projects under its emergency permitting authority.

The staff proposed approval of the 90 MW Larkspur energy facility in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego and the 135 MW Indigo project in Palm Springs. Both projects are sponsored by Wildflower Energy LP, a unit of InterGen, the electric power alliance between Royal Dutch/Shell Group and US engineering company Bechtel Corp. Both are expected to be operational by July.

A commission committee also conditionally recommended approval of a proposal by AES Huntington Beach LLC, a unit of AES Corp., to retool and restore to service the 450 MW Units 3 and 4 of the Huntington Beach generating station.

Natural gas will be supplied to the Larkspur project by a new 500 ft 12-in. diameter pipe interconnecting to an existing San Gas & Electric Co. 36-in. gas line adjacent to the site. During gas curtailments, the facility will operate on low sulfur diesel fuel, according to the proposal. The facility will operate under a umbrella emissions cap of 50 tons/year for nitrogen oxide.

Under an agreement with the California Independent System Operator, the ISO will dispatch the plant for up to 500 hr in 2001-2003. According to the California Energy Commission (CEC), Coral Energy LLC, an affiliate of Shell and Intergen, is renegotiating its summer reliability agreement with the California Department of Water Resources.

The Indigo plant is expected to include a new 24-in. gas supply line that will connect to an existing 30-in. Southern California Edison Co. existing line and will use an estimated 1.5 MMbtu/hr of gas. Under an agreement with the ISO, the grid operator will dispatch the plant for up to 500 hr in 2001-2003.

In order to complete the Huntington Beach overhaul by July, the CEC said AES has proposed a 20 hr/day work schedule. A final vote on the project is scheduled April 18. If it is approved, the certification would be good until 2006 with the potential for extension, if AES has fully complied with various conditions.

The CEC said it also is has begun reviewing proposals to construct two 40 MW power plants in San Bernardino County to provide electricity at peak use times this summer. Alliance Colton LLC has proposed building two peaker plants at existing electrical substations within the city of Colton. Each project would be a distributed generation facility producing 40 MW of electricity by using four, 10 MW, simple cycle gas turbine generators.

The generating units are almost entirely prepackaged at the factory and can be shipped to the sites on skids where minimal field construction is required, according to the CEC staff report.

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