California agency nears air approval for 1,095-MW Alamitos repower project

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) told the California Energy Commission in a June 30 letter, which is part of a 377-page finding, that it intends to approve air permitting for the AES Alamitos LLC repowering project.

The applicant is proposing to replace four existing electric utility boiler generator Units 1, 2, 3 and 5, which have been in operation since the 1950s and 1960s, with a new and more efficient gas turbine generating system. The new system will consist of two natural gas-fired General Electric 7FA.05 combined-cycle turbine generators configured with a shared steam turbine generator and four natural gas-fired GE LMS100PB simple-cycle turbine generators.

The combined generating capacity of the Alamitos Energy Center (AEC) project will be 1,094.7 MW (nominal gross). This capacity replaces the generating capacity of the existing Unit 1 (175 MW), Unit 2 (175 MW), Unit 3 (320 MW), and Unit 5 (480 MW).

The new AEC will be equipped with air pollution control equipment, which consists of catalysts (selective catalytic reduction and oxidation catalysts). Additional new proposed equipment will include an auxiliary boiler equipped with selective catalytic reduction, two aqueous ammonia storage tanks, and two oil/water separators.

The SCAQMD said in the June 30 letter that it has evaluated the permit applications and made a preliminary determination that the equipment will comply with all of the applicable requirements of its rules and regulations. Attached was a Preliminary Determination of Compliance (PDOC) that includes the SCAQMD’s engineering analysis.

The district said it intends to issue the final permit to construct: upon completion of a 30-day public comment and review period and after all pertinent comments have been considered; after receiving the federal land manager’s (Forest Service) determination of impact; after the U.S. EPA’s 45- day review of the Title V permit significant revision; and upon issuance of a license for the project from the California Energy Commission.

The 45-day EPA review period for this project permitting was initiated on June 30, and the public notice period will begin on July 8.

The pending Application for Certification (AFC) at the California Energy Commission for this project dates back to 2013, with a major revision filed in 2015. The project site is bounded to the north by State Route 22, to the east by the San Gabriel River, to the south by 2nd Street, and to the west by N. Studebaker Rd., in the city of Long Beach, Los Angeles County.

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.