New Environmentally Friendly Design Employs Technology to Avoid the Use of River Water to Cool Power Plant
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 24 // -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company today broke ground on a new power generating station that will provide PG&E's customers with 530 megawatts of power using the latest fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies. Named PG&E's Gateway Generating Station, the new plant represents the "Gateway" to the future of electric power generation as well as its position near the Delta.
The 530-megawatt, natural gas-fueled Gateway project is the first new power plant to be constructed by PG&E in nearly 20 years. Among the facility's environmental advantages, PG&E will employ "dry cooling" technology -- which uses 97 percent less water and produces 96 percent less discharge than a conventional water cooling system -- to avoid the use of river water. Also, the combined cycle technology will decrease fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, the primary contributor to climate change. Compared to older plants, the new plant will yield 35 percent less carbon dioxide for every megawatt hour of power produced. The new generating station will provide enough electricity for nearly 400,000 northern and central California customers.
"The new Gateway Generating Station reflects PG&E's unwavering commitment to meeting California's future energy needs with reliable, clean and cost- effective power," said Fong Wan, PG&E vice president of energy procurement.. "Our decision to invest in the state-of-the-art technologies that avoid the use of river water, in combination with the clean-burning natural gas turbines, makes this facility a highly efficient and environmentally friendly source of new energy for our customers."
Gateway's building will involve about one million worker hours and will employ about 400 workers at peak construction. When finished, the plant will employ 23 to 25 full-time workers and PG&E will pay about $1.5 million annually in property tax to Contra Costa County for the plant's valuation.
PG&E plans to complete construction of the facility and have the output available to serve electric customers in 2009. Since the generating station is already partially built, the company expects to invest about $370 million to complete the project. This investment will allow Gateway to supply power to northern and central California at significantly lower cost than if the company constructed an entirely new plant.
The Gateway facility is part of PG&E's comprehensive energy strategy designed to meet California's future energy needs with cost-effective and clean power supplies. PG&E has a long history of developing, generating, and purchasing clean energy. The utility currently supplies more than 13 percent of its energy from renewable resources that qualify under California's RPS Program. In addition, more than 50 percent of the electricity that PG&E delivers to its customers comes from generating resources that emit no carbon dioxide.
PG&E obtained the partially constructed Gateway power plant through a 2005 settlement agreement with Mirant. In June 2006, PG&E received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to acquire, complete construction of, and operate the electric generation facility. PG&E has since made the switch to more environmentally friendly dry cooling and some other project design changes that are subject to final approval from the CPUC and the California Energy Commission. The power plant is located near Antioch, adjacent to Mirant's existing facilities.
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Source: Pacific Gas and Electric Company
CONTACT: PG&E News Department, +1-415-973-5930
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