On Wednesday, Turlock Irrigation District (TID) held a dedication ceremony for the District’s new Almond 2 Power Plant, a project costing about $200 million. Construction began on the power plant located next to the existing Almond Power Plant in Ceres in March 2011 and was completed in March 2012, while on-site testing has been in progress since early summer.
Legislators, state officials, and many of the people who made it possible, attended the dedication of Almond 2 Power Plant, TID’s new, natural gas-fired power plant capable of producing 174 megawatts of electricity.
Consisting of three generating units that use natural gas to produce electricity to TID’s transmission system in a mere 10 minutes, Almond 2 Power Plant (A2PP), is expected to be fully operational this month.
The plant integrates into TID’s generation portfolio as a ‘peaking’ power plant, meaning its primary uses are to generate electricity quickly when TID’s system demand spikes (such as hot summer days) or to generate when intermittent resources such as wind are not generating as expected. Because A2PP features rapid start turbine technology, it can generate electricity to TID’s electrical system in only 10 minutes, which provides multiple operational advantages and flexibility for the District, including optimizing TID’s other plants to operate at their peak efficiencies.
Coming in under budget, the total cost allocated for the project was $200 million. The power plant project was funded by a bond.
A2PP, located next to the site occupied by TID’s existing Almond Power Plant, is also significant to TID and its customers for several other reasons:
– Emissions are low: natural gas is the cleanest commercially available fuel that results in the least amount of emissions per megawatt-hour of operation.
– A2PP’s water needs, which are intended to be low, will be met by extracting water from the City of Ceres’ Wastewater Treatment Plant.
– When it’s economically advantageous, the plant can quickly come online and generate energy to be sold in the electricity market, or can meet emergency needs to improve reliability.
– The plant can help the District accommodate future customer growth and/or load growth.
– Located next to an existing TID power plant by design, A2PP will efficiently utilize existing TID staff and infrastructure.
– Local control: TID owns and operates the facility, rather than relying on purchasing electricity from other generators.
Like other historic investments made by TID on behalf of its customers, A2PP returns a valuable resource to meet current and future energy needs in a timely, prudent and cost-effective manner with minimal environmental impact.
In a video produced by TID, Energy Strategy Department Manger Amy Petersen simply states, “A2PP is another tool in the toolbox to meet all of our needs going forward looking into the future.”
Power Plant Supply Assistant General Manager Brian LaFollette states, “I think it’s an exciting thing that when you look back over the history of the District, that this is another significant milestone. It’s the kind of visionary approach that our community has really had to how we’re going to serve electricity and water.”
Petersen went on to explain that vision, “TID has a long history of wanting to own resources; we can control them on our system when we need them for our rate payers.”
While both state direct benefits to TID rate payers, both also state that State of California mandates make A2PP part of a bigger picture. State mandates require that by 2012, 33% TID’s power come from renewable sources; and as that goal is met, back up reserves are going to be needed, which A2PP fulfills.
Besides the traditional ceremony marking the completion of the project, the plant was also dedicated in memory of the late Randy Baysinger, a 28-year TID employee and former Assistant General Manager for Power Supply. Randy Baysinger passed away last January at the age of 57. Randy was the initial Project Manager for the A2PP project. He also previously oversaw the completion of Walnut Energy Center – a 250-megawatt power plant – along with several other major projects, according to TID Public Information Specialist Herb Smart.
Many speakers yesterday talked about Randy’s passion, strong work ethic, devotion to TID, and how everyone enjoyed his company.
For more information about the benefits of Almond 2 Power Plant, an educational video is available online at www.tid.com/news-resources/videos.