AES Plans Battery Storage Capability by 2020 for Its Local Generating Facility

By: 
Joseph Baroud

Following a California legislative decision in 2010 prohibiting power plants to use ocean water to cool down their boiling facilities before it condenses into vapor and is used for electricity, AES Southland, which operates a facility in Long Beach, will soon open the Alamitos Energy Center, in order to meet the state’s legislative requirement.

AES is already operating power plants in Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Redondo Beach. They have recently spent $1 billion to upgrade the plants in Huntington and Long Beach in order to be compliant with state regulations. The Redondo Beach plant will close down.

Their power plants have been operating using a technique called “once-through cooling,” in which the plant gathers water from a nearby source through a large pump, in this case the Alamitos Bay, and circulates it through pipes to absorb heat from the steam which is the energy. Subsequently, the water is re released back into the bay at a significantly increased temperature.

California legislatures took marine life into consideration when they made the decision to prohibit the once-through cooling system. Beings that make the ocean their habitat can be pulled in when the facility’s pumps bring water into the plant, subjecting them to an unnatural habitat and the process, as if the fish were going to be used for energy.

If the animals survive the process, or, are fortunate enough to not be vacuumed in by the pumps, danger still awaits them in what is supposed to be their safe haven, water. The plant heats the water in order to condense it into vapor and use the energy produced from the heat. Once this is done, the water is pumped back out into the body of which it came from, but at an abnormal temperature.

For various natural species, such as marine life, the effects are devastating and fatal.

Thanks to the California legislation, power plants such as AES have been forced to reconcile their constructions in order to lessen the adverse effects it was producing on marine life. AES is also aiming to make their facility less of an eye sore, by removing the two smoke stacks that emit excess vapor into the environment’s atmosphere.

AES began reconstruction in June of 2017. The facility plans to be operational in the first quarter of 2020, as soon as the battery energy storage system is complete. The estimated year of completion for the entire project is slated for 2026. Once both power blocks are up and running, demolition of the generating system at the Alamitos plant will mark its completion.

AES claims through their website that they’ve completed the underground construction of the facility last year and are now in the process of renovating what the public actually sees. Last year, AES finished building the Heat Recovery Steam Generators and the Air Cooled Condenser, which are absolutely vital in the transformation process of the facility.

This year, AES will look to continue renovation and begin producing power by the beginning of 2020. With all of the equipment in place at the site, workers will be connecting all of the pipes and ensuring the electrical system runs flawlessly.

Upon completion of the connection processes, AES will begin testing and starting the facility’s components. This phase is expected to begin in the middle of this year.

AES has done a great job of informing neighbors of their plans and consulting with them. Through their website, they’ve established a forum for community members to contact them and comment. They’ve kept the community updated and the results of this project will inevitably reduce adverse emissions and devastating effects to marine life while simultaneously improving the aesthetic, and surfacing features of the facility.

For more information, you can visit the webpage AES has specifically implemented for this project. The website is www.renewaesalamitos.com.

joseph@beachcomber.news

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