- The California ISO will study clean energy alternatives to a planned gas expansion near the city of Oxnard, CA which aims to replace the 573 MW Mandalay Bay natural gas facility operated by NRG.
- CAISO offered to do the study after urging from the California Energy Commission earlier this year, and formally submitted its offer to the governing body last week. The CEC accepted the offer and gave the grid operator until June 16 to formally agree to conduct the study; CAISO will complete the study by August 16.
- Construction of the Puentes gas project would accommodate the older plant's retirements, but the CEC wants to first consider renewable resources, according to the Los Angeles Times.
California ISO will have about two months to study alternatives to more gas-fired power in California, a sign that the project continues to face skepticism. In February, several lawmakers sent a letter to the CEC saying regulators needed to "adequately justify" the need for the plant, and local residents say they would prefer to shutter the existing plant there and restore the beachfront.
The California Public Utilities Commission approved the project last summer, with plans to have it online by 2020, but now the plant's future is in doubt.
NRG Energy would own and operate the the Puentes plant, and the Los Angeles Times reports the company issued a statement pointing out that the CPUC signed off on the project just six months ago. “Since that time, no additional feasible, cost-effective and available preferred resources have been identified that would eliminate the need for the Puente Power Project,” said NRG spokesman David Knox.
A large gas investment plan in the Los Angeles basin is also under regulatory scrutiny. In a presentation earlier this month, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners said it "has put on hold all planned local repowering projects until a system-wide, in-depth, and independent study/analysis is conducted."
LADWP, one of the largest publicly-owned utilities in the country, will first look to renewable resources to meet demand instead of following through with a $2.2 billion natural gas investment. That review is expected to be completed in 2018.
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly said Southern California Edison owned the Mandalay power plant.