Energy Commission starts certification review for new power plant, approves $14.6 million for LED streetlights and alternative fuels and technologies
SACRAMENTO – The California Energy Commission voted to begin the certification review process for a proposed new power plant in Southern California that would replace an aging older technology facility. The Energy Commission also voted to help three communities install cost-saving LED street lights during its monthly business meeting on Wednesday, March 12.
The Commission, which is responsible for certifying thermal power plants 50-megawatt (MW) and greater, determined that the application for certification of the proposed 1,936-MW natural gas-fired Alamitos Energy Center in Long Beach, CA, was data adequate. The application was submitted by AES Southland Development, LLC in December 2013.
The Commission will now begin the discovery and analysis phase of the plant’s environmental and engineering review. A committee of two commissioners—Karen Douglas and Janea Scott—will determine if the proposed project meets the Commission’s power plant certification requirements as well as those of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If certified, the Alamitos Energy Center would eventually replace the 2,000-MW Alamitos Generating Station. That plant will be discontinued because it does not comply with new State Water Resources Control Board policies regarding once-through cooling, a process that uses large amounts of coastal water and returns heated water to the ocean negatively impacting marine life.
More than $3.4 million in loans will be given to Morgan Hill, San Marcos and the County of San Diego to replace inefficient street lighting with energy efficient LED technology lighting. The loans were made through the Commission’s Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA) program. The ECAA program provides low interest loans—with a 1 percent interest rate—to local governments, K-12, public colleges, special districts and public hospitals. Funds must be used for energy projects and are paid back within 20 years of the loan date using energy cost savings. Between 2000 and 2013, the Commission has loaned more than $245 million for efficient street lighting, resulting in savings of more than $30.3 million.
San Marcos will receive $1.1 million to retrofit approximately 2,000 high pressure sodium and mercury vapor streetlight fixtures. The retrofits are expected to save the city approximately $100,000 per year on utility costs.
Morgan Hill will receive $750,000 to replace 2,097 high pressure sodium streetlight fixtures. The retrofits are expected to save the city $116,672 a year on energy costs.
San Diego County will receive $1.56 million to retrofit 2,200 high pressure sodium and mercury vapor streetlight fixtures. The retrofits are expected to save the county approximately $180,000 per year on utility costs.
The Commission also approved more than $9.5 million in grants for two biogas projects, and $1.6 million for an electric vehicle power train conversion project:
Pixley Biogas LLC, in Pixley CA, has received $4.6 million to construct an anaerobic digestion facility that will produce biogas from dairy manure and will power the adjoining ethanol-producing Calgren Renewable Fuels Biorefinery. CEQA requirements have been completed, and this approval lets them move forward with the project.
Community Fuels, in Encinitas, CA, will receive $4.9 million to expand biodiesel production capacity at its Port of Stockton facility from 10 million to at least 15 million gallons per year.
Motiv Power Systems Inc., in Foster City, CA, will receive $1.6 million to convert older United Parcel Service and U.S. Postal Service medium-duty gas or diesel walk-in vans to use its electric power train.