Palmdale Power Plant
View of how PHPP will look from the air.
General Description of Project
The City of Palmdale proposes to construct, own, and operate the Palmdale Hybrid Power Plant (PHPP), an innovative 570 megawatt (MW) electric generating facility. It combines the ultra-high efficiency clean burning natural gas fired combined cycle turbine technology with the state-of-the-art renewable solar equipment-the parabolic trough solar thermal design. The resulting fully integrated "hybrid" design is the first of its kind in the world and will instantly make the City of Palmdale, as owner of the facility, one of the leaders in the electric generating field.
How Power Will Be Produced
The combined-cycle equipment utilizes two natural gas-fired combustion turbine generators (CTG), two heat recovery steam generators (HRSG), and one steam turbine generator (STG). The solar thermal equipment utilizes arrays of parabolic collectors to heat a high-temperature working fluid. The hot working fluid is used to boil water to generate steam. The combined-cycle equipment is integrated thermally with the solar equipment at the HRSG and both utilize the single STG that is part of the PHPP.
The PHPP will have a nominal electrical output of 617 megawatts. If approved by the Energy Commission, commercial operation of the project is planned for the summer of 2013. The solar thermal input will provide approximately 10 percent of the peak power generated by the Project during the daily periods of highest energy demand. The Project will be fueled with natural gas delivered via a new natural gas pipeline. The Southern California Gas Company will design and construct the approximately 8.7-mile pipeline in existing street rights-of-way within the City of Palmdale.
The PHPP plant site is located south of East Avenue M (E Ave M) in the northernmost areas of the City of Palmdale. The 377-acre plant site is part of an approximately 600-acre city-owned property that is bounded by Sierra Highway to the west, East Ave M (Columbia Way) to the north, and U.S. Air Force Plant 42 on the south and east. Air Force Plant 42 is a government-owned contractor-operated facility for the production, engineering, final assembly and flight testing of high performance aircraft. Under a joint-use agreement with the U.S. Air Force, Los Angeles World Airport currently operates a passenger terminal on Air Force Plant 42 as LA/ Palmdale Regional Airport.
What about water?
With regard to water consumption, the PHPPs design is innovative as well. The steam turbine will be "wet cooled" using reclaimed water (treated effluent) from local waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) and will employ a "zero liquid discharge" (ZLD) design. The approximately 3,000 acre feet per year of reclaimed water needed by the Project is easily accommodated by the region's expanding WWTPs and, in fact, the WWTP effluent has become a major disposal problem for local water agencies. The Project represents a major year-round user, willing to pay for the use of the water, while providing an environmentally sound consumptive use. This is considered a major benefit to the region's water infrastructure plan. The ZLD system will reuse / recycle all cooling water.
The PHPP's innovative hybrid design has drawn applause from virtually every stake-holder in the Southern California energy marketplace, including:
- Governor Schwarzenegger's Office
- Leaders in both Houses of the California Legislature
- U.S. Congressman representing the High Desert region
- The California Public Utilities Commission
- The California Energy Commission
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Southern California Edison (SCE)
- Southern California Public Power Association (SCPPA)