- Docket Number
- 320 MW
- Santa Clara County
- Combined Cycle
- Project Status
- Operational (Natural Gas-Fired)
- Project Type
- Application for Certification
The Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility (LECEF) is a natural gas fired power plant located at 800 Thomas Foon Chew Way, northern San Jose, Santa Clara County.
LECEF, Phase 1 (01-AFC-12C), was originally granted a license by the California Energy Commission (CEC) on July 2, 2002 and became operational in March 2003. LECEF, Phase 1, was a 180-megawatt (MW), simple-cycle peaking facility consisting of four General Electric LM6000 SPRINT natural gas-fired, simple-cycle turbines. Phase 1 was also the subject of a recertification hearing before the CEC under Docket 03-AFC-02. Recertification was granted in the Commission Decision adopted on March 16, 2005. Because this recertification was filed under Docket 03-AFC-2 and was licensed, LECEF Phase 1 is now handled under the compliance proceeding for Los Esteros 2, 03-AFC-2C.
LECEF, Phase 2 consists of the converted Phase 1 and is a 320 MW combined-cycle facility through the addition of heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) tube sections and associated evaporator drums and piping, HRSG duct burners, a nominal 140 MW steam turbine generator, a six-cell cooling tower, ancillary equipment, and a 230 kV transmission interconnection with the Silicon Valley Power Switching Station. As part of the combined-cycle conversion, LECEF was authorized to change the permanent point of interconnection from the underground line (connecting to the PG&E Los Esteros Substation, as approved in the 2002 Decision), to a 230 kV transmission line connecting to the Silicon Valley Power Substation.
Other LECEF components include a single-cell cooling tower (2 cells were originally permitted); a 115-kilovolt-(kV) switchyard; a 550-foot-long, 10-inch-diameter natural gas supply line, a 1,500-foot-long recycled water supply line, a 2,000-foot-long sanitary sewer discharge line, and a 1,000-foot-long storm water line. LECEF utilizes recycled water from the South Bay Water Recycling Program (SBWR) through one 18-inch diameter line,1,500 feet in length, connecting with the SBWR recycled water main located in the City of San Jose’s buffer lands west of the LECEF.
In May 2005, the CEC approved a Post-Certification Amendment (PCA) allowing the continued operation of LECEF Phase 1 beyond June 30, 2005 and authorizing LECEF Phase 1 to temporarily interconnect to PG&E’s 115 kV Los Esteros-Nortech transmission line by a 152 foot overhead line (rather than permanently connect via an underground line) until the project converted to combined-cycle operation.
In September 2017, the CEC received a Post-Certification Amendment (PCA) to modify the facility by installing up to 6 megawatts (MW) of vanadium flow batteries, with up to 18 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy storage, and/or an additional 6 MW of lithium-ion batteries, with up to 6 MWh of energy storage capability. This PCA is still under review as of May 2021.
On August 20, 2020, the CEC approved a PCA (TN 234382) to increase the water circulation rate through the cooling tower and amend the air quality COCs to align with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) Title V Operating Permit.
Power Plant Certification and Exemption Processes
As required by the Warren-Alquist Act, the Energy Commission monitors Commission-certified energy projects throughout construction, operation, and closure to ensure compliance with the conditions of certification imposed by the Commission’s Final Decision for approving the projects.