City of Carlsbad supports NRG’s Carlsbad Energy Center repowering project

The city of Carlsbad, California, is supporting the Carlsbad Energy Center Project (CECP) repowering, after opposing it in the past, due to changes made to the project to make it more compatible with its coastline location.

Filed with the California Energy Commission on March 4 by a local association that has intervened in this case was some 2010 testimony from the city opposing the project, which involves repowering of the existing Encina plant. But NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) spokesman David Knox said March 6 that this opposition from the city has since been resolved, in part because the project has been redesigned to minimize the impact of the repowered project on the Pacific Coast viewshed. The city now fully supports the project, he added.

(An earlier version of this story inadvertently implied that the earlier opposition from the city was still the case.)

The Carlsbad City Council in January 2014 approved an agreement that will result in a more environmentally friendly, lower profile “peaker” plant in Carlsbad in exchange for a guarantee that the old power plant is torn down and land along Carlsbad Boulevard is freed up for uses more appropriate for the coast.

The California Energy Commission committee assigned to conduct this proceeding has scheduled a March 18 prehearing conference and an April 1-2 evidentiary hearing. The CECP was approved by the commission in 2012 (the 2010 city testimony was part of that earlier proceeding), as a 540-MW natural-gas combined-cycle power generator. It would have consisted under that prior configuration 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 2014 amendment petitions are being considered together in this new proceeding:

  • 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 on the approved project site; tanks 5–7 were approved for demolition in the 2012 commission decision. Knox said demolition of the oil tanks was one of the factors in gaining city support for the project.
  • The second petition would change the project to consist of six simple-cycle turbine generators producing about 632 MW in total. 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 project owner and petitioner, Carlsbad Energy Center LLC, is an indirect subsidiary of NRG Energy.

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.