CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Leaders of California’s top energy and environmental regulatory organizations joined Edison Mission Energy President Pedro Pizarro today to dedicate the Walnut Creek Energy Park (WCEP) in the City of Industry.
The new plant began selling energy into the southern California electrical grid this spring and will begin full-scale commercial operation under a 10-year contract to sell power to Southern California Edison (SCE) in June. Designed to help meet peak demand for electricity, the 479-megawatt project is able to produce enough energy to power 165,000 residential central air conditioning units in the Los Angeles Basin.
Participating in the dedication were California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey; California Independent System Operator (CAISO) Chairman and city of Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster; CAISO President and CEO Steve Berberich; California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols; California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister; Dr. Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District; representatives of State Sen. Ed Hernandez and State Assemblyman Ian Calderon; City of Industry Mayor Jeff Parriott; SCE President Ron Litzinger, and Ron Miller, Executive Secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.
“Walnut Creek builds on Edison Mission Energy’s 27-year history of developing, building and operating natural gas-fired power generation to provide safe, reliable electricity to California homes and businesses,” said Pizarro.
“In the 1980s, our company was formed to help usher in the development of combined heat and power facilities which simultaneously generate electric power and steam,” he noted. “In 2001, we helped the state emerge from the energy crisis with the expedited construction of our Sunrise plant near Bakersfield. Today, we dedicate a new plant which will support the integration of renewable energy into our electric system and bring a new, clean energy source to the Los Angeles Basin.”
Noting that the project was eight years in the making, Pizarro thanked the state, regional and local agencies present for their work to enable the development of projects like Walnut Creek. “Vision, leadership and execution are represented here today,” he said.
Walnut Creek serves as a quick response peaker that will generate electricity when customer demand is highest. It will likely run 20 to 40 percent of the time, most frequently during the summer months or when electricity from renewable sources such as wind or solar power ramps down.
Fueled by clean natural gas, the $500 million project is equipped with best available control technology for emissions. The site’s five General Electric LMS 100 gas turbines can start and ramp up to full power in 10 minutes. WCEP also replaces two, 52-year-old generating units in Huntington Beach that used ocean water for cooling before they were retired. WCEP uses reclaimed water for cooling.
Licensing and permitting of WCEP began in 2005, and the Public Utilities Commission approved a competitively-bid power sales contract with SCE for the project in 2008. Final approvals of construction and environmental permits were granted by the California Energy Commission and South Coast Air Quality Management District, and construction began in June 2011.
During peak construction, there were up to 400 workers on site, and an average of about 220 workers over the past year, most of them represented by regional building and construction trades. The project paid $22 million in sales taxes during construction and will pay nearly $7 million in annual property taxes.
As part of EME’s introduction to the community, Pizarro closed the dedication program by presenting a donation to Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Barbara Nakaoka to support the district’s Makerspace Lab program.
With the addition of Walnut Creek, EME now owns interests in or operates 10 power generating facilities in California, all of which are fueled by natural gas. EME’s net ownership of generating capacity in the state is 1,465 megawatts.
About Edison Mission Energy (EME)
Headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif., EME owns, operates or leases a portfolio of more than 40 electric generating sites in 13 states that are powered by wind, natural gas and coal, as well as an energy marketing and trading operation based in Boston. EME operates one of the largest wind energy projects in the U.S. with a current portfolio of 29 projects in operation in 11 states with a total generating capacity of nearly 2,000 megawatts. For more information on EME, visit www.edisonmissionenergy.com.
- Utility Industry
- Nature & Environment
- Edison Mission Energy
- Southern California Edison
- Pedro Pizarro
- southern California
Susan Olavarria, (312) 952-2817