Geoff Lesh, Brett Fooks, Elizabeth Huber, Timothy Smith, Paul Trygstad, Ivan Clark
On Friday, May 28, 2021, at 2:27 p.m., the California Energy Commission (CEC) was informed by Russell City Energy Center that it was in a forced outage because of a serious steam turbine generator incident at 11:47 p.m. on May 27, 2021. During Russell City Energy Center night shift’s normal shutdown procedures for taking the power plant offline, an incident in the steam turbine generator occurred causing an onsite explosion and fire.
The CEC’s Siting, Transmission and Environmental Protection Division maintains a comprehensive compliance monitoring and enforcement program to ensure that permitted thermal power plants are constructed, operated, and decommissioned in accordance with their conditions of certification and all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards. The CEC’s post-certification compliance monitoring and enforcement authority can be found in Public Resources Code sections 25532 to 25534.2 and Title 20, California Code of Regulations, sections 1751 to 1770, as well as in conditions of certification within facility licenses.
Under this authority, the Russell City Energy Center May 2021 Incident: Root Cause Gap Analysis was developed to summarize the CEC’s investigation into the factors that contributed to the May 27, 2021, incident and to determine what corrective actions would be required for the Russell City Energy Center to safely restart operations. In addition to determining the causal factors of the May 27, 2021, events, the CEC focused its investigation on worker safety, fire safety, hazardous materials, onsite physical security, and other conditions of certification as warranted.