California commission reviews revamped Carlsbad project of NRG

The California Energy Commission has scheduled a site visit and a commission hearing back in Sacramento in August on recent applications by Carlsbad Energy LLC to make changes in plans for a new gas-fired power plant.

On April 29 and May 2, Carlsbad Energy Center LLC, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), submitted two petitions to amend the May 2012 commission decision approving the Carlsbad Energy Center Project (CECP). The CECP would be located on the eastern portion of the Encina Power Station (EPS) site in the City of Carlsbad in San Diego County.

The commission has designated a committee of two commissioners to conduct proceedings on the petitions. The committee has scheduled an Aug. 7 public site visit as well as an ernvironmental scoping meeting and committee conference to discuss the proposed amendments. The commission said in a June 27 notice that the committee has scheduled the committee conference to deliberate in closed session on the question of whether the two pending petitions to amend should be processed together or separately, with that session to be held on Aug. 25 in Sacramento.

The CECP project was approved by the commission in 2012 as a 540-MW natural gas combined cycle generator. It would have consisted of two power blocks, each having one rapid-response combustion turbine generator (CTG), one heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), one condensing steam turbine generator (STG), an air-cooled fin-fan cooler, and associated support equipment.

  • Proposed Amendment 1 – In the April 29 petition, the company is seeking permission to demolish three above-ground storage tanks—tanks 1 and 2 to the west of the rail corridor and tank 4 to the south of the approved project boundary. Those tanks would be demolished in addition to tanks 5–7, which were approved for demolition in the 2012 commission decision.
  • Proposed Amendment 2 – The May 2 petition would change the project to consist of six simple-cycle turbine generators producing approximately 632 MW. The project site would be expanded to include the storage tank area to the south of the presently approved area, adding seven acres to the approved 23-acre facility.

Once the new facility achieves commercial operation, the company would begin to decommission and remove the existing EPS facilities to the west of the rail corridor, including removal of the 200-foot-tall power building and 400-foot exhaust stack. Once site remediation is complete, the site, with the exception of the existing San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) switchyard and any facilities necessary to desalinate seawater for CECP’s use, will be available for redevelopment to non-power generation uses.

In a June 27 filing at the commission, Carlsbad Energy Center provided various project data that has also been filed with the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District as part of ongoing air permitting for the project. Consultant Sierra Research provided that data, including General Electric performance run information for the LMS 100 gas turbines to be used as part of this revamped project.

The amended CECP is proposed to come online by the fourth quarter of 2017, with demolition of the above-grade EPS generating units, buildings, and related equipment to commence as soon as practicable after that.

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.