Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
New Gas Power Plants May Be Built at Huntington Beach Site
The California Energy Commission is reviewing a proposal to build two new natural gas power plants on the site of two similar existing plants in Huntington Beach that had been retired but were returned to service in the wake of the emergency shutdown of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the news service Reuters reports.
The new proposed electric generating units would produce up to 939 megawatts of power, a bit less than half the capacity lost when San Onofre went offline. The units would also use a “dry cooling” system, which would not require ocean water to be cycled through them, a requirement of new California Air Resources Board standards that put nearly 17,000 megawatts of existing generating capacity in jeopardy. The new plants would nearly double the generating capacity of the Huntington Beach site, which was initially shuttered because operator AES intends to transfer pollution credits to a new facility set to open next year in the City of Industry.
Cost estimates disclosed so far peg the price tag of the new facility at $500-550 million, a sum energy experts say is low and may only pay for one of the two proposed units.
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