NRG gives notice of retirement of final unit at old El Segundo plant in California

NRG Energy on Jan. 8 filed with the California Energy Commission a copy of a Dec. 19 letter it sent to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) about the retirement of Unit 4 at the El Segundo power plant.

Said the Dec. 19 letter: “The following is submitted by NRG El Segundo Operations Inc. on behalf of El Segundo Power LLC, SCAQMD Facility I.D. #115663. This correspondence is to notify the District of the retirement of Unit 4 SCAQMD Equipment l.D. #D13, on December 31, 2015. This unit will no longer operate in order to comply with the California Regional Water Control Board Order R4-2015-0029, NPDES No. CA001147, Once Through Cooling (OTC) Compliance Schedule in section VI (C)(6) b of the NPDES permit. With this communication, El Segundo Power is confirming that Unit 4 will retire by 11:59 PM on December 31, 2015.”

El Segundo Power operates this facility in the City of El Segundo. The facility has been in continuous operation since 1955. The original facility had a total gross electrical output of 1,020 MW, which consisted of Boilers #1 and #2, each rated at 175 MW, and Boilers #3 and #4, each rated at 335 MW. Boilers #1 and #2 were removed from service in December 2002.

In addition to the 573 MW added (new Units 5-8) as of 2013 in a partial repowering of the plant, NRG Energy’s (NYSE: NRG) El Segundo Energy Center LLC in April 2013 proposed to the Energy Commission an amendment for the facility under the El Segundo Power Facility Modification (ESPFM) Project. The ESPFM Project will include one combined cycle gas turbine, two simple cycle gas turbines, and an auxiliary boiler.

  • The combined cycle gas turbine will consist of a General Electric Model 7FA gas turbine and a General Electric Model SC steam turbine. The gas turbine is rated at 222 MW and the steam turbine is rated at 112 MW. The total combined cycle capacity will be 334 MW gross.
  • The simple cycle gas turbines will consist of two Rolls Royce Trent 60 gas turbines, each rated at 57.4 MW for a total simple cycle capacity of 114.8 MW gross.

The total capacity of this second phase will be 448.8 MW gross. This second repowering project is still under commission review at this point.

Said NRG in Oct. 12, 2015, testimony filed in this ongoing review of the project’s second phase about the status of Units 3 and 4: “Project Owner agrees with Staff that the demolition of Units 3 and 4 and associated facilities such as the once-through cooling facilities is a core part of the [Petition to Amend]. The project was proposed as a single comprehensive replacement of Units 3 and 4 with new units and other onsite improvements and changes. Approval of the PTA solidifies a new status quo for Units 3 and 4. Unit 3 retired in 2013 following the start-up and commissioning of El Segundo Energy Center Units 5–8. Unit 4 will retire at the end of 2015 in compliance with the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) Once-Through Cooling Policy.

“Steps will be taken to satisfy the SWRCB, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) that the steam generating units will no longer operate, and consequently, will eliminate the use of once-through cooling for those units. The air permits for both units will have been surrendered following December 31, 2015 and, once project financing has been arranged, the units and their associated structures will be demolished to make room for new, more efficient units. However, without an overall project that can produce income, there is no capital funding to pay for the expenditure of demolishing and removing Units 3 and 4. In short, without demolition of Units 3 and 4 there is no project and, similarly, without the project there is no ability to demolish Units 3 and 4.”

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.