California natural gas power plant ready to fire up

Walnut Creek Energy Park

The roughly 300 MW Pio Pico natural gas power plant in California is essentially finished with construction and is about to enter commercial operation, Apex Power Group Managing Partner Michael King told the PennWell GenForum event Aug. 23 in Columbus, Ohio.

“Actually the project will go commercial next Tuesday [Aug. 30]” following performance testing … we are very happy to have that one under our belt,” King said.

The project located in San Diego County, has a 25-year power purchase agreement with Sempra Energy utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), King said.

The natural gas power plant should enter commercial operation within days, King told GenForum. Kiewit served as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project, King noted.

Apex has developed projects in the California ISO, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and now PJM, King said.

Apex is also developing a 1,600 MW power plant in Guernsey County, Ohio. The Guernsey project is located alongside the Rockies Express gas pipeline and a 765-kV electric transmission line, King said.

Apex was attracted to the Ohio and Pennsylvania areas because of the “amazing” amount of shale natural gas production nearby, King said.

Apex is partnering with Caithness on the Guernsey power plant, King said.

King was speaking as part of a panel discussion on the promise and pitfalls of new natural gas generation. GenForum is a co-located event with POWER-GEN/Natural Gas.

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