Haynes Power Plant to Go Green

Steve Propes

It’s all about the once-through cooling (OTC) process, which recycles ocean water through power generating units. Found by the courts to be a danger to sea creatures of all sorts, facilities such as the AEG plant on Studebaker Road and the Haynes Power Plant on Second Street have been mandated by a legal ruling to discontinue the OTC process by the year 2029.

The Haynes plant, on-line since 1962 and owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has seven power generating units with a capacity of 1,867 megawatts, enough to power just about a million homes. Haynes is one of three plants owned by the LADWP. The others are the Harbor plant on Terminal Island and the Scattergood in Playa Del Rey – all so-called coastal generating stations.

This is hardly the first major upgrading of the Haynes plant. In 2005, LADWP “repowered units three and four utilizing advanced combined cycle technology, which significantly increased fuel efficiency of the plant,” according to the LADWP website. Another $782 million Haynes Repowering Project was finished at the end of 2013.

This is where the issue of green and solar power enters into the equation. Of the plant’s seven units, two units were targeted for an upgrade. But instead of changing over from ocean cooling to gas power, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti recently announced they would study green energy, like solar, as a way of powering the affected units.  The LADWP insists, contrary to other reports, there is no imminent closure of the plant, only to repower certain units of the plant.

The EPA and the California State Water Resources Control Board set up regulations to phase out these units, which discharge to the ocean about 10 to 15 years ago. Already at Haynes, four units no longer use the court-vetoed cooling system. The remaining two units need to be replaced or taken off line by 2029. Some units have been replaced by dry cooling, but LADWP stated they will not repower the units by national gas.

All of this is part of the LADWP’s Strategic Long-Term Resource Plan (SLTRP), an outline for “electric supply initiatives and power use/demand programs to meet L.A.’s energy needs,” according to the agency’s website.

“Each year, LADWP updates the SLTRP to reevaluate the various power resource options available to achieve a clean energy future. Every other year (during even-numbered years), formal community outreach and public input inform the update. In addition, important studies such as the OTC Study, the 100 Percent Renewable Energy Study, and ongoing transmission studies are considered in the planning process,” said a LADWP press release.

“The SLTRP Advisory Committee had a kick-off meeting on Dec. 4, 2018 and will continue to meet in early 2019 to build case scenarios that provide alternative paths for achieving a clean energy future, and review preliminary case results from staff modeling and evaluation.

The advisory committee’s output will then be shared with the community at large through a series of public workshops to review the 2018 cases scenarios and receive further feedback on the proposed 2018 SLTRP cases, each with a distinct set of resources and timelines for achieving a clean energy future for Los Angeles.

The feedback is critical to LADWP’s completion of the 2018 SLTRP report, expected to go before the Board of Water and Power Commissioners for approval in May 2019, which includes a recommended case. An iterative process, the SLTRP recommended case will be updated in 2019 and evaluated again in 2020 with public input.”

Of the three LADWP plants, the utility intends to eliminate OTC at Scattergood units by the end of 2024 and at remaining generating units located at Haynes and Harbor generating stations by 2029. “In summer 2017, LADWP paused all in-basin natural gas unit repowering efforts to conduct a comprehensive independent study to develop clean energy alternatives to the planned projects.”

Haynes’ next-door neighbor, according to LADWP, says “AES Southland is currently developing plans to replace its existing natural gas power plants in Long Beach and Huntington Beach with modern, more attractive and far more efficient facilities, which will take up less space at the sites. Modern and more flexible natural gas plants are critical to integrate renewable energy into the electric grid and help California meet its important clean energy goals.”

In a recent LADWP statement about the changeover, “The Haynes Generating Station Repowering Project will replace two aging power generating units that now use ocean water cooling with six 100 megawatt fast start natural gas combustion turbines.”

Addressing the future, the statement continued, “These turbines provide ‘peaking’ capability to meet the City of Los Angeles’ energy needs and better enable tracking the variation in power supply provided from wind and solar energy generation – a growing part of LADWP’s power supply.  The turbines will also use ‘dry cooling’, completely eliminating the use of ocean water for these units.”



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