Californian regulator terminates license for gas power project

Thursday, 02 July 2020
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The California Energy Commission has withdrawn the license for the Palmdale Energy Project, just north of Los Angeles, after the developer Palmdale Energy signaled it was unable to secure a customer for the gas-fired plant. Attitudes in California have changed as consumers favour carbon-neutral power generation over fossil fuels.

Some observers said the Palmdale Energy Project was the victim of fierce opposition from environmental and community groups. The Antelope Valley, where the power plant was to be built, already has a smog problem so residents filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s reliance on fossil energy sources. Ultimately, the developer and the Palmdale City Council agreed to shelve the project.

Palmdale Energy, a subsidiary of Summit Power Group, had purchased the project in 2015. It was first proposed in 2001 to help reign in California’s energy crisis and rolling blackouts at the time.

The city of Palmdale has spent some $9.25 million on the project in recent years as the proposed power plant evolved from a 570 MW hybrid unit, based on gas and solar, to the most recent 645 MW gas-only power plant.

Renewables favours over fossil fuels

Over the course of ten years, Californian lawmakers developed a renewable portfolio standard that requires 60 percent of the state’s electricity mix be renewable by 2030. Some 34 percent of California’s energy mix was renewable last year, and energy storage is also strongly on the rise as a balancing tool.

The Bill 2514 mandated the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to adopt an energy storage program and procurement target. As a result, the regulator set a target of 1,325 MW installed energy storage by then end of 2020. 

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