Two Inefficient Reliant Units Mothballed

By Published On: October 18, 2003

Reliant Energy has retired two generation units at its Etiwanda plant in Southern California. Both have been off line since the end of last December. Market uncertainties and required pollution controls on the 264 MW turbines did not make for a rosy bottom line for the generator. ?These plants aren?t worth running at the current gas prices,? said John White, head of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology. He said the plants had ?miserable? heat rates, adding, ?Efficiency ain?t just for the environment anymore, it?s economic.? Reliant solicited bids for capacity from the two units and sought a price that would cover the cost of installing air emission controls as well as operations and maintenance. The company came up empty-handed. ?Had bids been received at the minimum levels, our intention was to move forward with the [environmental] upgrades,? said Dan Hannon, Reliant?s Western region president. Reliant would not say how much money would have been sufficient to get the plants running. The Etiwanda plants, located in Rancho Cucamonga, are two of five units at the site and were commissioned in 1953. Still operating at the facility are two more steam turbines and one jet turbine, according to Reliant spokesperson Sandy Fruhman. Shutting down other old, polluting plants in the state, particularly Pacific Gas & Electric?s Hunters Point plant and Mirant?s Portrero facility, is more problematic because of grid reliability concerns held by the California Independent System Operator.

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