Docket Number
320 MW
Santa Clara County
Combined Cycle
Project Status
Operational (Natural Gas-Fired)
Project Type
Application for Certification
Project Description

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 (PTA) 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 PTA 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 PTA (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.

Los Esteros 1

Docket Numbers: 01-AFC-12 and 01-AFC-12C

Compliance Proceeding

 Original Proceeding

  • Commission Order Approving a Previously Completed Modification, TN 30795, 01/29/2004, Order No. 04-0121-06, Commission approval for a previously completed new temporary interconnection tap line compared to the permanent interconnection specified in the Decision
  • Commission Order Approving Ownership Change, TN 32225, 08/30/2004, Order No. 04-0825-02, Commission approval of ownership transfer from Calpine c* Power to Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility, LLC.
  • Order Amending Energy Commission Decision – Use of Underground Interconnection and Updating Air Quality conditions of Certification, TN 59641, 02/08/2011, Order No. 11-0202-06, Use of underground interconnection, add a new breaker and reconductor, and update existing Air Quality Conditions of Certification to lower the emission limits for carbon monoxide and precursor organic compounds.
  • Order Approving A Petition to Amend the Monitoring and Initial Source Testing Conditions and Allow for an Additional Turbine On-Site, TN 200404, 09/06/2013, Order No. 13-0827-03, Commission approval of revisions to the Air Quality Conditions of Certification to amend the monitoring and initial source testing conditions and make other administrative changes which will ensure that the latest Authority to Construct issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District BAAQMD is consistent with the CEC Conditions of Certification.
  • Statement of Staff Approval to Increase Water Circulation Rate and Air Quality Conditions of Certification, TN 234382, 08/20/2020, Staff approval to increase the water circulation rate through the cooling tower and amend the air quality COCs to align with District Title V Operating Permit.
  • Authorization for a Software Modification to Allow an Increased Firing Temperature When Warranted, Not in Docket, 11/30/2020, Staff approval of a software change to allow an increased firing temperature when additional megawatts are needed or requested by the California Independent System Operator.

Attention: Non-hypertext items above will need to be requested from the Compliance Project Manager, along with the document TN number, if provided above.

Power Plant Certification and Exemption Processes

The CEC has the exclusive authority to certify all thermal power plants 50 megawatts (MW) and larger and related facilities proposed for construction in California. The Application for Certification (AFC) process is a certified regulatory program under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As a certified regulatory program, the CEC does not prepare environmental impact reports (EIRs) in an AFC proceeding, but instead prepares environmental assessment documents that are functionally equivalent to EIRs. A certificate issued by the CEC is in lieu of any permit, certificate, or similar document otherwise required by any state, local or regional agency, or federal agency to the extent permitted by federal law, and supersedes any applicable statute, ordinance, or regulation of any state, local, or regional agency, or federal agency to the extent permitted by federal law.

Original Proceeding

e-Commenting has been closed. Please submit your comments in compliance proceeding above.

Docket Log (03-AFC-02)

Exhibit List

Proof of Service List

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