California commission revises schedule for 553-MW Sonoran project review

The two-person committee of California Energy Commission members handling the application for the gas-fired Sonoran project on May 6 established a procedural schedule that would have the commission deciding on the project at an unspecified time in 2017.

In 2005, the commission issued its Final Decision granting a certificate to Caithness Blythe II LLC to construct and operate the Blythe Energy Project Phase II. The approved BEP II was not built. The project site is located in eastern Riverside County, approximately five miles west of Blythe, California.

In April 2014, AltaGas Power Holdings (U.S.) Inc. (APHUS), acquired Caithness. APHUS then changed Caithness’s name to AltaGas Sonoran Energy Inc. (AltaGas).

In August 2015, AltaGas submitted a Petition to Amend to the commission seeking permission to make changes to the amended Final Decision for BEP II, and to rename the project Sonoran Energy Project (SEP). Other modifications proposed to support this 553-MW (net) version of the project include:

  • Define a new point of electrical interconnection via a 1,320-foot, 161-kV transmission line to the Western Area Power Administration’s Blythe substation located southeast of the project site via an existing transmission line located in the Southern California Edison (SCE) Buck Boulevard substation;
  • Replace the two Siemens SGT6-5000F combustion turbines with a single General Electric (GE) Frame 7HA.02 combustion turbine;
  • Replace the Siemens steam turbine generator (STG) with a single-shaft GE D652 STG;
  • Increase the size of the auxiliary boiler to support the CTG’s rapid response fast start capability;
  • Decrease the size of cooling tower from an 11-cell to a 10-cell tower in response to the reduced heat rejection requirements;
  • Decrease the size of the emergency diesel fire pump engine; and
  • Optimize the general arrangement.

The committee conducted a status conference on March 30, 2016, to discuss the schedule, a Preliminary Staff Assessment report, and other matters pertaining to the project. As a result of those discussions, and the April 15th status reports, the committee has determined that a revision to the schedule is necessary.

The revised schedule includes:

  • Parties file Status Reports, 05/13/2016
  • Parties file Status Reports, 06/20/2016
  • Final Staff Assessment (FSA) filed, 07/27/2016
  • Last day to File Petition to Intervene, 08/10/2016
  • All Parties file Opening Testimony, 08/12/2016
  • All Parties file Rebuttal Testimony, Prehearing Conference Statements, Exhibit Lists, 08/19/2016
  • Prehearing Conference, Late August/Early September 2016
  • Evidentiary Hearings, Mid-September 2016
  • Presiding Member’s Proposed Decision (PMPD), Early November 2016
  • Committee Conference on PMPD, Mid-November 2016
  • Close of Public Comment Period on PMPD, Early December 2016
  • Energy Commission Final Decision, time to be determined
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.