California commission reviews big change for Carlsbad gas project

The California Energy Commission committee assigned to review petitions to amend for the Carlsbad Energy Center Project (CECP), including a major change in configuration for the project, has scheduled an Oct. 23 hearing on those petitions.

The hearing will be at the commission offices in Sacramento, said an Oct. 10 hearing notice. The project backer, Carlsbad Energy Center LLC, is a unit of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG).

The CECP was approved by the Energy Commission in May 2012 as a 540-MW natural-gas combined-cycle power generator. It would. under that approval, 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.

Two amendment applications were filed earlier this year:

  • The first seeks 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.
  • The second petition would change the project to consist of six simple-cycle turbines producing approximately 632 MW. The project site would be expanded to include the storage tank (tank 4) area to the south of the presently approved area, adding seven acres to the approved 23-acre facility. A new administration and control building and a warehouse would be added on the site.

The Oct. 23 hearing is for the purpose of considering pending motions related to the petitions. In addition, the committee will conduct a status conference to discuss the progress made thus far in the proceeding, any barriers to the timely completion of staff’s analysis, date-specific project milestones, and any other matters relevant to the schedule.

“We specifically request that a representative of the San Diego Air Pollution Control District be present in person or via WebEx to inform us of the status of the District’s preliminary and final determinations of compliance with its rules,” said the Oct. 10 meeting notice.

San Diego Gas & Electric seeks approval of contract for this power

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) on July 21 filed with the California Public Utilities Commission for authority to enter into a long-term power purchase tolling agreement (PPTA) with Carlsbad Energy Center LLC. The PPTA would allow the utility to purchase the output of a new, efficient natural gas-fired facility, the Carlsbad Energy Center, which would add approximately 600 MW of needed local capacity in SDG&E’s service area.

SDG&E said it is pursuing this PPTA to partially fill the local capacity requirement (LCR) need identified by the commission in the Track 4 Decision. The retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) has created a need for new resources to meet SDG&E’s needs, the application noted.

The Carlsbad project has a nominal capacity of 600 MW, said the utility. Since the amount of available capacity from a combustion turbine varies according to ambient conditions at the plant site, capacity payments are capped at 633 MW. The project will consist of six generating units utilizing efficient General Electric LMS100 technology, providing state-of-the-art flexibility with each unit capable of multiple starts and stops per day. The expected online date is Nov, 1, 2017. It will be located at the site of the to-be-shut Encina power plant.

The application noted: “[T]he Carlsbad Energy Center PPTA, with its November 1, 2017 online date, helps facilitate the timely retirement of San Diego’s last OTC units, which are located at Encina. The existing Encina generators consist of five steam turbine generators that utilize OTC technology and are subject to the State’s mandate to retire by December 31, 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.