California staff reviews early AES Redondo Beach application

California Energy Commission (CEC) staff said Dec. 20 that it must see more information before it can declare an application by AES (NYSE: AES) to build new power generation at its Redondo Beach complex as “complete.”

Until subsidiary AES Southland submits the needed data in six technical areas, the commission won’t be able to fully start its 12-month review process, the staff said in a memorandum.

On Nov. 20, AES Southland submitted an application for certification (AFC) to construct and operate the Redondo Beach Energy Project, an almost 500-MW (net) combined-cycle gas power plant.

The project would be built on the same site and ultimately replace the existing Redondo Beach plant in Los Angeles County.

The existing Redondo Beach Units 1 through 8 and auxiliary boiler no. 17 will be demolished as part of the project. (Units 1, 2, 3, and 4 are currently retired. Units 5, 6, 7, and 8 are currently in use.)

The 496-MW facility would consist of one power block, composed of three natural gas combustion turbine generators with supplemental fired heat recovery steam generators, an air-cooled condenser to replace once-through cooling, and related ancillary equipment. The new facility would reuse the existing natural gas, water, wastewater, sewer, and high-voltage interconnections to the site.

This use of existing infrastructure would avoid the need to construct any new offsite linear facilities. The station will continue to connect to a 230-kV Southern California Edison (SCE) transmission line.

The company has said that the new plant will have fast-start capability to rapidly respond to changes in generation and demand in the Los Angeles Basin. “This design will provide considerable flexibility in maintaining the reliability of the regional electrical transmission and distribution grid,” AES said in a Nov. 20 cover letter.

Demolition of the existing power plant structure is expected to start in the first quarter of 2016 and last 60 months, into the final quarter of 2020. New power block construction will begin in the first quarter of 2017 and continue through the fourth quarter of 2019, AES said.

A California ISO forecast indicates that between 2,370 and 3,741MW of new generation is required in the next several years in the Los Angeles Basin to make up for retirements and meet future needs.

The City of Redondo Beach, Calif., submitted comments Dec. 19 that identified 15 areas of concern, the CEC said.

CEC reviews all power generation applications of at least 50 MW. The CEC review process includes 23 technical disciplines. The CEC staff said the AES application is deficient in its data on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, traffic and transportation, transmission system design and waste management.

The docket number is 12-AFC-03.

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.