California commission sets Feb. 20 workshop on HECA project

The California Energy Commission staff has scheduled a Feb. 20 workshop in the commission’s Sacramento offices on the proposed Hydrogen Energy California LLC (HECA) coal gasification power project.

The workshop is being held to allow staff, the applicant, intervenors, interested agencies, and the public to discuss water supply issues related to the proposed project. The company plans to use brackish groundwater to be supplied through the Buena Vista Water Storage District for cooling and process water at the project.

The HECA project, proposed by SCS Energy LLC, is an integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant that also plans to manufacture hydrogen to generate 300 MW and to also produce low-carbon urea and nitrogen-based products, such as fertilizer, for agricultural use. SCS Energy, after taking over the project from prior developers, filed an amended application for certification with the commission in May 2012 after redesigning key aspects of the project.

The project would gasify about 75% coal and 25% petroleum coke to produce hydrogen. The company recently told the commission that it is negotiating with Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) for coal for the power project out of the El Segundo and Lee Ranch strip mines in New Mexico. The hydrogen-rich syngas fuel would be used to generate electricity.

The proposed plant would capture about 90% of the CO2 produced from the gasification process and pipe it for use at the adjacent Elk Hills Oil Field for enhanced oil recovery that would result in sequestration. Occidental of Elk Hills Inc. owns and operates the oil field.

The HECA project would be located on a 453-acre site currently used for agricultural purposes. The site is located about seven miles west of Bakersfield near the town of Tupman in western Kern County.

The estimated construction cost for the HECA project is $3.15bn, the commission said in a Feb. 6 public notice. If the commission approves the project, construction would last 49 months with work schedule to start soon after approval with commercial operation projected for September 2017.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.