Twelve power projects under construction in California

There are 12 power plant construction projects, involving a total of 6,010 MW of capacity, ongoing in California, said a list of power projects approved or under review by the California Energy Commission.

The commission, after it approves power projects, continues to monitor them during the construction process. These in-construction projects, in descending order of size, as described on the commission website, are:

  • The commission accepted a change in ownership from Palo Verde Solar I LLC to NextEra Blythe Energy Center LLC. The developer of this project proposed to construct, own, and operate the Blythe Solar Power Project. This is a concentrated solar thermal electric facility with four adjacent, independent, and identical solar plants of 250-MW nominal capacity. The project will utilize solar parabolic trough technology. The project site is located about eight miles west of the city of Blythe in an unincorporated area of Riverside County. There was a construction start in November 2010 and the project is due on-line in 2015.
  • The CPV Sentinel Energy Project is a nominally rated 850-MW facility. The site encompasses 37 acres of land situated within unincorporated Riverside County. The project consists of eight natural gas-fired General Electric LMS100 combustion turbine generators operating in simple cycle mode. The project will supply quick-start peaking capacity, energy, and ancillary services into the California Independent System Operator‘s Los Angeles Basin Local Capacity Requirement Area, which has been identified as an area in need of additional peaking capacity to meet resource adequacy requirements and ensure grid reliability. The project will be constructed, commissioned, owned, and operated by CPV Sentinel LLC. Construction began in June 2011, with the project due on-line in August of this year.
  • Mirant Marsh Landing LLC is building the Marsh Landing Generating Station (MLGS) just north of the city of Antioch in Contra Costa County. The MLGS is adjacent to the recently-completed Gateway Power Station and the existing Contra Costa Power Plant (CCPP), an older facility which is scheduled to be retired when the MLGS is complete. The existing CCPP has a once-through cooling system, which draws cooling water from the San Joaquin River and then discharges it back into the river after use. The new MLGS would be a simple-cycle facility that would not use river water for cooling or process water requirements. The MLGS project would have a nominal electrical output of 760 MW generated from four Siemens 5000F combustion turbine units operating in simple-cycle mode. Construction began in January 2010, with the facility due on-line in June of this year.
  • El Segundo Power II LLC filed a petition with the commission requesting to amend a decision to eliminate the use of ocean water as the cooling water source for the El Segundo Power Redevelopment Project (ESPR). The petition proposed a new rapid response combined cycle (R2C2) design that will allow the project to operate without once-through cooling. The 630-MW ESPR was originally certified by the commission in 2004, with an amended decision in 2005. A petition challenging the certification was filed with the California Supreme Court shortly thereafter, thus delaying the effective date of the decision. With the court’s denial of the petition in August 2005, the decision became final. The facility is located in the city of El Segundo in Los Angeles County. Project construction began in May 2011, with an on-line date in August of this year.
  • Contra Costa Generating Station LLC began construction in June 2011 of the Oakley Generating Station (formerly called Contra Costa), in the city of Oakley in Contra Costa County. The project, due on-line in 2016 (a delay from 2013), proposes to be a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle facility rated at a nominal capacity of 624 MW.
  • Calpine Corp. and Russell City Energy Co. LLC began construction in September 2010, with an on-line date in July of this year, for a project that was first approved by the commission in 2002, then went through later amendments. The Russell City Energy Center is an approximately 600-MW natural gas-fired, combined-cycle facility located in the city of Hayward in Alameda County.
  • Walnut Creek Energy LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Edison Mission Energy, is constructing a nominal 500 MW simple-cycle power plant, the Walnut Creek Energy Park (WCEP), in the city of Industry in Los Angeles County. The facility would consist of five General Electric LMS100 natural gas-fired turbine-generators. The WCEP is designed as a peaker and is expected to have an annual capacity factor of 20% to 40%, depending on weather-related customer demand, load growth, hydroelectric supplies, generating unit retirements and replacements, the level of generating unit and transmission outages, and other factors. Construction began in June 2011, with the commission website showing no current estimate for when this facility would go on-line. Notable is that Edison Mission Energy and some of its affiliates sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2012. But Walnut Creek Energy was not one of the affiliates that sought bankruptcy.
  • In 2007, Solar Partners I LLC, Solar Partners II LLC, Solar Partners IV LLC and Solar Partners VIII LLC submitted a single application to the commission to develop three solar thermal power plants and shared facilities near the Ivanpah Dry Lake, in San Bernardino County, on federal land. The project would be constructed in three phases: two 100-MW phases (known as Ivanpah 1 and Ivanpah 2) and a 200-MW phase (Ivanpah 3). The three plants are collectively referred to as the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS). The project includes three solar concentrating thermal power plants, based on distributed power tower and heliostat mirror technology. Construction began in 2010, with phased completion over the 2012-2014 period.
  • Abengoa Solar Inc., the sole member of Mojave Solar LLC, filed an application for its Abengoa Mojave Solar Project. The proposed project is a nominal 250-MW facility to be located near Harper Dry Lake in an unincorporated area of San Bernardino County. The project will use parabolic trough technology to solar heat a heat transfer fluid (HTF). This hot HTF will generate steam in solar steam generators. While the commission classifies this project as under construction, no construction start date or on-line date are shown.
  • Genesis Solar LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, is building the Genesis Solar Energy Project, a concentrated solar facility located in Riverside County. The project consists of two independent solar generating facilities with a nominal net output of 125 MW each. Electrical power would be produced using steam turbine generators fed from solar steam generators. Construction began in January 2011, with no on-line date shown.
  • Calpine is working on the Los Esteros 2 Critical Energy Facility. Phase 1 of Los Esteros 2 involved recertification for continued operation of the Los Esteros 1 Critical Energy Facility located in the city of San Jose. Los Esteros 1 was approved by the commission in July 2002 as a “peaker” with a limited three-year period of operation. That recertification was approved in 2005. Phase 2 of Los Esteros 2 is a proposed 180-MW natural gas-fired peaking plant consisting of four simple-cycle combustion turbine generators. It would be built at the same location as Los Esteros 1. This phase also sought a license for conversion of the facility to a combined-cycle operation. The commission website shows that 140 MW of capacity of this project went into construction in 2011 and is due on-line in June of this year. But there’s an inconsistency with this, since a December 2012 commission notice about a project amendment filed by the company said: “On November 19, 2012, Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility, LLC filed a petition with the California Energy Commission requesting to modify the Energy Commission Decision for the Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility Phase 2 project. The 320-megawatt project was certified by the Energy Commission on January 2, 2011, is currently under construction and is 54 percent complete. The facility is located in the City of San Jose, in Santa Clara County.” The amendment had to do with some minor air emissions changes.
  • In November 2011, Xeres Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of DuPont Fabros Technologies LP, submitted an application for a Small Power Plant Exemption (SPPE) from the commission to construct and operate the Santa Clara SC-1 Data Center, Phase 2, in the city of Santa Clara. Xeres proposes to install an additional 16 backup generators at the Data Center. Each backup generator has a capacity to generate 2.25 MW. The Data Center, when complete, will include a total of 32 backup generators, with a total capacity of 72 MW. Xeres has constructed and is currently operating Phase 1 of the facility and sought the commission exemption in order to obtain authorization to complete the build out of Phase 2. The commission website shows this as 36 MW of capacity that is under construction, but with no construction start date and no on-line date shown.
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.