Friday, January 26, 2007

Eco Power

That’s about as much power as the Auburn Dam would produce, at much less the cost, of course the dam would also have other benefits…

Posted on Thu, Jan. 25, 2007

Eco-friendly power plant work begins
In 2009, PG&E slated to open Antioch facility to generate 530 megawatts
By Janis Mara

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. broke ground Wednesday on a more environmentally friendly natural-gas-fired plant in Antioch that will generate enough electricity to power 400,000 homes in Northern and Central California.

San Francisco-based PG&E is starting work anew on the partially completed plant, which it acquired from independent power producer Mirant Corp. after Mirant went bankrupt.

PG&E will spend about $370 million to finish the 530-megawatt Gateway Generating Station, expected to open in 2009.

The project should be a short-term job boon, employing 400 workers at peak construction time. When it opens, the plant will have 23 to 25 employees.

Gateway will use "dry cooling" technology, which uses 97 percent less water and produces 96 percent less discharge than conventional water cooling systems, PG&E said. Also, it will use fuel-saving combined cycle technology.

"At the moment, combined cycle is the industry standard. What you get is pretty clean" energy, said Frank Wolak, a Stanford University professor and visiting scholar at the University of California Energy Institute.

"A combined cycle unit uses the waste heat generated by one turbine to help power another turbine," so less energy is wasted, Wolak said. The technology uses 35 percent less natural gas, and hence about one-third less carbon dioxide for every megawatt hour of energy produced, according to Paul Moreno, a PG&E spokesman.
One megawatt of energy equals roughly enough electricity to power 750 average California homes under normal conditions.