California commission staff releases Redondo Beach analysis

California Energy Commission staff has released its preliminary environmental analysis for licensing of the proposed Redondo Beach Energy Project (RBEP), which is a repowering project being pursued by a unit of AES Corp. (NYSE: AES).

The Preliminary Staff Assessment (PSA), published July 28, concludes that in all but three technical sections—soil and water, air quality and visual resources—the project complies with all laws, ordinances, regulations and standards (LORS), and with the implementation of its recommended mitigation measures, potential environmental impacts would be mitigated to levels of less than significant.

In November 2012, AES Southland LLC filed an Application for Certification for the RBEP. The proposed 496-MW, natural gas-fired plant would replace the existing 1,310-MW Redondo Beach Generating Station (RBGS) in Redondo Beach. As proposed, the RBEP would leave 20-acres of the 50-acre RBGS site for other uses, be more efficient, and use an air-cooled condenser for cooling, eliminating the use of once-through cooling with ocean water.

The PSA serves as the staff’s initial evaluation of the environmental, engineering, public health and safety impacts of the proposed facility. It is not the decision document for proceedings on the proposed power plant, nor does it contain final findings of the commission related to environmental impacts or the project’s compliance with local, state, and federal legal requirements. After a 30-day comment period, staff will respond to public comments in the Final Staff Assessment (FSA).

The FSA will act as staff’s testimony in evidentiary hearings to be held by the RBEP Committee—Commissioner and Presiding Member Karen Douglas and Commissioner and Associate Member Janea Scott. 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 a final decision.

The committee assigned to these proceedings will conduct a status conference on Aug. 7 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at commission Hearing Room “B” in Sacramento.

Construction targeted for a first quarter 2016 start

The project is based around three Mitsubishi combustion turbine generators. If permitted, the RBEP would require 60 months of construction and demolition that would start in the first quarter of 2016 and continue until the end of 2020.

RBEP would be connected to the grid using the existing, onsite, Southern California Edison (SCE) 230-kV switchyard located on a parcel owned by SCE within the existing RBGS site. No new transmission lines would be needed for the project.

Natural gas is delivered to the existing RBGS via an existing 20-inch diameter pipeline by Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) to an existing onsite gas metering station. The natural gas would flow from the existing SoCal Gas metering station to a new gas pressure control station and gas scrubber/filtering equipment. Natural gas would be distributed onsite to the combustion turbine fuel gas compressors and subsequently to the combustion turbines and directly to the duct burners of the heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs).

AES Southland has described the RBEP as having a net generating capacity of 496 MW, and gross generating capacity of 511 MW, referenced to site ambient average temperature (SAAT) conditions of 63.3º Fahrenheit dry bulb and 58.5º Fahrenheit wet bulb temperature. At an ambient dry bulb temperature of 33º Fahrenheit RBEP will be capable of a net generating capacity of 530.4 MW, and gross generating capacity of 546.4 MW.

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.