LADWP advances on Haynes plant repowering project

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) is making headway on its $782m effort to replace 1960s vintage generating units at the Haynes station in Long Beach with 600 MW of peaking capacity from new gas units that can reach full capacity within minutes.

Haynes units 5 and 6 are being replaced with a half-dozen 100-MW simple-cycle units.

The repowering is designed to result in less air pollution, less use of cooling water and greater grid flexibility, according to Generation Hub’s review of recent LADWP documents and conversations with a department spokesperson.

The repowering is part of a major infrastructure overhaul that will will require rate hikes.

LADWP will hold a series of community meetings beginning April 25 to inform customers about an increase in power rates, according to an April 19 news release. The power rate proposal requests a 4.6% increase beginning July 1, 2012 and 5.9% effective July 1, 2013 for a total of 10.5% over 2 years, an increase to the current average rate of 1.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). For the typical residential customer, using 500 kWh, this would add $3.35 per month to their current $65.79 monthly bill.

LADWP General Manager Ronald Nichols recently said modernizing and rebuilding the Haynes complex is a major step in LADWP’s power transformation, which will involve replacing about 70% of LADWP’s current generation with renewables, energy efficiency, and more efficient and flexible natural gas generators.

The Haynes station is the current center of activity. The new Haynes units are expected to be in operation in June 2013. The repowering project also supports more than 350 jobs for LADWP and Kiewit Construction employees, Los Angeles officials said.

Long-term plans call for all the Haynes units to be replaced by the end of 2027.

In addition to supporting renewable energy and improving reliability, the new units will be cooled without ocean water by using “dry cooling” structures. The units are the first of several at LADWP’s three coastal generating plants being rebuilt to eliminate ocean water cooling over the next 17 years under an agreement with the State Water Board.

LADWP’s Scattergood 3 plant is expected to be taken offline and replaced by the end of 2015 and replaced with new natural gas generation, a department spokesperson said April 20.  The third coastal plant requiring replacement of once-through-cooling system is the Harbor generating station in San Pedro. LADWP plans to replace Harbor Units 1, 2 and 5 by 2029.

“While we aim to significantly increase our renewable energy portfolio, we can’t rely on the wind to blow or sun to shine 24/7,” Nichols said.

Los Angeles to end reliance on coal power

Finally, Los Angeles is also affected by state mandates imposed by the California Legislature that caps carbon emissions on power imported into California the level generated by a combined-cycle gas plant.

This is significant for LADWP because in 2010 coal accounted for 39% of its power mix. The Los Angeles department has a major off-take contract with the Intermountain Power Project in Utah. That coal plant is owned by a group of Utah utilities. The Intermountain contract ends in 2027.

Los Angeles also one of a half-dozen organizations with an ownership interest in the Navajo power station in Arizona. LADWP has access to about 21% of that plant’s capacity, and the operating contract expires in 2019.

As required by state legislation (SB 1368), LADWP is prohibited from receiving coal-generated (high-emitting) power from these plants after their current contracts expire, the LADWP spokesperson said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.