For Immediate Release: September 12, 2013
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Workshops to be held September 17-19 for Hydrogen Energy California Project

What: The California Energy Commission staff and the U.S. Department of Energy will hold joint workshops for the proposed Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) project.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013, Commission workshop from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., public comments for the Energy Department from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013, Commission workshop from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., public comments for the Energy Department from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday, September 19, 2013, Commission workshop from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Buttonwillow Recreation and Park District Multi-Purpose Facility, 556 Milo Avenue, Buttonwillow, California, 93206

If you're unable to attend the workshops, you can participate by telephone and/or by computer by visiting this site:

Why: The workshops are being held to allow Commission staff, the Energy Department, the applicant, interested agencies, intervenors and the public to discuss the preliminary staff assessment/draft environmental impact statement (PSA/DEIS), receive comments, discuss additional information requirements, and identify and resolves areas of disagreement.

The technical areas scheduled for each workshop are:

  • September 17 – Air quality; carbon sequestration and greenhouse gases; noise and vibration; power plant efficiency; power plant reliability; public health; and traffic and transportation.
  • September 18 – Alternatives; biological resources; hazardous materials management; waste management; water resources; and worker safety and fire protection.
  • September 19 – Cultural resources; facility design; land use; paleontology/geology; socioeconomics; transmission line safety/nuisance; transmission system design; and visual resources.

The workshop agenda can be found here:

The PSA/DEIS released on June 28 was the initial evaluation from Commission staff and the Energy Department of the environmental, engineering, public health and safety impacts of the proposed facility. The document is not a decision from the Commission or the Energy Department nor does it contain findings of the Commission related to the environmental impacts or the project's compliance with local, state and federal legal requirements.

The information and public comments from the workshops will be used to prepare the final staff assessment/final environmental impact statement (FSA/FEIS). The FSA/FEIS will serve as Commission staff's testimony at evidentiary hearings conducted by the committee of two commissioners reviewing the proposed project. The committee will issue a proposed decision based on evidence presented at the hearings. The proposed decision will be presented to the full Commission for a final decision.

The Energy Department plans to provide financial assistance to design, construct, and demonstrate the HECA project. The Energy Department will use the FSA/FEIS to decide if the HECA project will be awarded funding.

Background and Next Steps:

The HECA project proposed by SCS Energy, LLC is located about seven miles west of Bakersfield near the town of Tupman in western Kern County. The project would be located on 1,106 acres of private land currently used for agricultural uses. The facility would be located on 453 acres with the remaining 653 acres used for a controlled buffer area.

The HECA project will use an integrated gasification, combined cycle system to produce and sell electricity, carbon dioxide, and fertilizer. The project would gasify coal and petroleum coke to produce synthesis gas (syngas). The hydrogen-rich syngas fuel would be used to generate between 405 to 431 megawatts gross of electricity. The facility would also produce and sell urea fertilizer and other nitrogenous compounds.

The proposed plant would capture about 90 percent of the carbon dioxide produced from the gasification process and transport it by pipeline for use at the adjacent Elk Hills Oil Field for enhanced oil recovery that would result in sequestration. Occidental of Elk Hills, Inc. owns and operates the field.

The applicant estimates that it will take about four years for the HECA project to be completed, with construction projected to start in 2014 and commercial operation expected in 2018. The proposed schedule is contingent on the project obtaining the required approvals from the Commission and the Energy Department.

The estimated capital cost for the HECA project is $4 billion. The project would require an average construction workforce of 1,160 workers, with a peak of 2,461. An average of 200 full-time employees would be needed when the project is operating, according to the applicant.

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