NRG is leading efforts to transition older coal plants into more flexible, faster-ramping natural gas facilities that can support grid reliability and enable more and more renewable generation to come online. One of these facilities is NRG Yield's El Segundo Energy Center.
El Segundo Energy Center is a natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle generating facility located near Los Angeles, California. The plant produces 550 megawatts (MW) of efficient and flexible electricity to the California grid – enough to power nearly 450,000 homes. The fast-start, rapid-response power generation employed by El Segundo delivers more than half its generating capacity in less than 10 minutes and the balance in less than one hour, allowing it to back up quicker and enable greater use of intermittent renewable technology.
The El Segundo project has contributed to other significant environmental benefits, including the retirement of two less efficient 335- MW steam boiler units that relied on ocean water for cooling. El Segundo uses reclaimed water for its state-of-the art, air-cooled, combined-cycle operation, reducing the use of potable water at the site by nearly 90 percent.
In efforts to meet and exceed California's and the South Coast's strict air quality standards, El Segundo uses 30 percent less natural gas per megawatt-hour produced than the originally used steam boilers, thereby supporting California's goal to achieve 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2020. The project also included the removal of two large oil tanks, which enhances the aesthetics of the site and improves community views of the coastline.
During peak construction, the project created nearly 400 jobs in the local community. The project generates annual tax revenue in excess of $3 million and required no state or local tax dollars.
Through a 10-year power purchase agreement, Southern California Edison will be the sole user of the facility's entire output.