New 800MW gas-fired power plant means more jobs, cleaner energy for California

Source: GE 

Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. (CPV), GE Energy Financial Services and Diamond Generating Corporation (DGC) announced that they have broken ground on their co-owned, gas-fired 800-megawatt (MW) CPV Sentinel Energy Center in Riverside County, California. 

The $900 million CPV Sentinel power plant is located near Desert Hot Springs, five miles northwest of Palm Springs. It is expected to create 300 construction jobs with a $40 million payroll, along with nearly 400 indirect jobs with a $15 million payroll. The project will provide an estimated $30 million in sales tax during construction and an estimated $6.4 million in annual property taxes once operational in the summer of 2013. 

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Joining the three companies for the groundbreaking was a bipartisan group headlined by Assembly member V. Manuel Perez, the author of a California state law that was critical in the project’s development. Also in attendance was the co-author of the law, Assembly member Brian Nestande, Riverside County Supervisor (and former State Senator) John Benoit, as well as long-time local supporters, including Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley and Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks along with City Councilmember’s from Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs. 

“We are incredibly proud of the jobs our project is creating at this pivotal time in the recovery of the economy,” said Doug Egan, CEO of Competitive Power Ventures. “So many people and organizations contributed to making this project a success; it was truly an amazing effort between the public and private sector.” 

Gemma Power Systems California, Inc. is the general contractor overseeing construction of the project. CPV Sentinel will supply power to the Coachella Valley and Los Angeles Basin under a long-term power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison, an Edison International (NYSE: EIX) company. CPV will manage the project, while DGC will serve as the plant’s operator. 

“Today’s groundbreaking marks a great milestone made possible by CPV’s vision and persistence, GE’s energy project development partnership capabilities and technology, the cooperation of governments and our neighbors, and now the workers who will build this project that will facilitate the growth of intermittent energy sources like wind and solar in southern California,” said Alex Urquhart, president and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services. 

Using eight of GE’s efficient, quick-starting LMS100 gas turbines, the CPV Sentinel power plant will help prevent blackouts during extremely hot weather by providing peak power on demand. Given CPV Sentinel's close proximity to 600 MW of wind farms, the project also will support California in meeting its goal of generating 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020 by facilitating the integration of wind and solar power into the electric grid. When it becomes operational, the project will be able to power approximately 640,000 homes.
“With our headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, and our Indigo Energy Facility only a mile or so down the road from Sentinel, we have been a part of the local economy in Southern California for more than 2 decades,” noted DGC Senior Vice President Bo Buchynsky. “We especially appreciate having another project in our backyard, where we can continue to support the local economy and be part of Southern California’s energy future.” 

CPV, the managing member and developer, owns 25 percent of the project, while DGC and GE own 50 percent and 25 percent, respectively. 

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