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Colusa Generation Station Leads Industry in Environmental Technologies

By February 19, 2014In The News

Power Engineering recently featured a news article featuring the Colusa Generation Station, a Gemma Power Systems project.  Here’s what they had to say:

The Colusa Generation Station, about 70 miles northwest of Sacramento, Calif. near the town of Maxwell, began generating power in December 2010. The two-unit, combined cycle power plant has a generation capacity of 660 MW, enough to power more than half a million homes in Northern California.

The plant is loaded with environmental technologies, including a “dry cooling” system that uses 97 percent less water than a conventional cooling system. What’s more, the plant is equipped with a Zero Liquid Discharge system, which recycles and cleans wastewater for reuse throughout the plant. The ZLD equipment was supplied by Aquatech under a contract with Gemma Power Systems, the project’s primary contractor. Worley Parsons served as the project’s design engineer.

Cleaner-burning turbines and the latest air-quality-control technologies mean Colusa’s CO2 emissions are 35 percent lower than older gas-fired power plants. Moreover, the plant is designed to reduce its output quickly when wind and solar power are readily available, a feature that allows the utility to accommodate the growing amount of renewable power in California. The plant’s ability to start and stop quickly will be increasingly critical as PG&E secures more renewable power to meet demands for cleaner power.

“This plant was designed to be among the cleanest in PG&E’s fleet,” said Randy Livingston, PG&E’s vice president of power generation. “It turns out to be the cleanest operating plant in all of California.”

Construction began in November 2008. At the peak of construction, the project employed about 800 people and provided a boost to the local economy. In 2012, the plant generated more than $7 million in local tax revenue

“Colusa Generating Station has one of the most stringent air permits in the nation,” said Steve Royall, director of Fossil Generation at PG&E. “We often start the plant multiple times in a month. That means we have a challenge of meeting compliance in every one of those starts. We do that through an emissions calculator that we created here at the site.”