AES brings back 600 Mw in service in California

AES Corp. confirmed it is ramping up two gas-fired power plants that had been shut down because of environmental reasons in California. Both plants totaling 600 Mw should be in service by late Thursday, says Aaron Thomas, spokesman for AES. Late Wednesday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District lifted an abatement order that identified AES plants that could not operate without penalties, unless specialized emissions control devices were installed at the plants


Ann de Rouffignac
OGJ Online

AES Corp. confirmed it is ramping up two gas-fired power plants that had been shut down because of environmental reasons in California.

Both plants totaling 600 Mw should be in service by Thursday evening, says Aaron Thomas, spokesman for AES Pacific, a unit of AES.

Late Wednesday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) lifted an abatement order that identified AES plants that could not operate without substantial penalties, unless specialized emissions control devices are installed in the plants. Since the management district withdrew the order, two plants can be brought back on line to help satisfy California's critical electricity needs.

The state cannot count on electricity imports from the Northwest. Tight supply and anticipated heavy demand caused by severe cold weather is expected in that region this weekend. California, with more than 11,000 Mw out of service, has endured a Stage 2 emergency alert all week forcing utilities to call in interruptible load. The state is literally counting every megawatt to supply demand.

The order named plants in Huntington Beach, Redondo, and Los Alamitos. AES contested the abatement order because plants in Huntington Beach and Redondo have not exceeded emissions limits and were never assessed violations, according to the company.

Instead of pursuing a contested case, the air quality district agreed to lift the order and modify the permit governing the future operation of the Los Alamitos plant.

Under the modified permit, operating the Los Alamitos plant will trigger civil penalties of $10,000/day, until the plant is retrofitted with approved emissions controls devices, says Bill Kelly, spokesman for the district. �The permit was changed so the plant could be operated during a Stage 2 or 3. But they would still have to pay that penalty.�

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