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LAX-area powerplant goes 'green'

New technology at plant will decrease pollution
March 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
New high-tech natural gas turbines will be installed at an aging electrical generating station near Los Angeles International Airport, now that its owner has signed an agreement to sell the electricity. The old power plant in El Segundo was mothballed in 2003, but will be refit with new equipment that will provide power to 400,000 residences and emit 30 percent less air pollution than the plant did when it was operated for decades using older technology, officials said.

Once it is restarted in three years, the NRJ Energy Inc.-owned electrical station will no longer suck in large amounts of seawater as coolant, a process that kills plankton, fish eggs and microscopic organisms, officials said.

Southern California Edison yesterday signed an agreement to buy the NRJ plant's output for 10 years, company officials announced yesterday. The agreement is subject to approval from state regulators, and Edison said it expects that to be granted.

Natural gas for the electrical generation in California currently comes from pipelines from Texas and Colorado, but two companies are applying for permission to import natural gas in its liquefied form at offshore terminals in Santa Monica Bay and near Oxnard.

The NRJ generating station is a longtime coastal landmark, one of two sets of smokestacks along the beach between LAX and Manhattan Beach. The towers may get torn down as a part of the project.

 

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