California commission plans workshop on AES gas plant repowering

The California Energy Commission staff will hold a Nov. 20 workshop for the proposed Huntington Beach Energy Project in Huntington Beach, Calif.

The workshop is being held to allow commission staff, the applicant, intervenors, interested parties, agencies, and the public to discuss technical issues identified in the preliminary staff assessment (PSA) for the 939-MW, gas-fired power project.

The first part of the PSA was released Oct. 10. The second part, covering the alternatives analysis, air quality, and public health sections, is scheduled to be filed 45 days after the commission receives the preliminary determination of compliance (PDOC) from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The PDOC explains how the project would comply with applicable air quality regulatory requirements, and proposes permit conditions to ensure compliance.

The PSA is the staff’s initial evaluation of the project’s environmental, engineering, public health and safety impacts. It is not a decision from the commission nor does it contain findings of the commission related to the environmental impacts or the project’s compliance with local, state and federal legal requirements, the commission said in a Nov. 15 workshop notice.

Information from the workshop will be used to prepare the final staff assessment that will serve as staff’s testimony at evidentiary hearings conducted by the committee reviewing the project. The committee will issue a proposed decision based on evidence presented at the hearings. The proposed decision will be presented to the full commission for final action.

The project applicant is AES Southland Development LLC, a subsidiary of AES Corp. (NYSE: AES). The project would be constructed on a 28.6-acre site located within the existing footprint of the existing Huntington Beach Generating Station, which would be demolished and removed.

The new facility would consist of two independently operating, combined-cycle gas turbine power blocks. It would use dry-cooling to reduce water use and comply with the State Water Resources Control Board’s policy eliminating the use of ocean water for power plant cooling. Several power plants in California are being replaced or repowered due to this restriction on once-through cooling.

Demolition and construction activities for the project are scheduled between the first quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of 2022. The project is estimated to cost $500m to $550m.

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.