Western Midway Sunset Cogeneration Power Plant Project

Docket Number:

99-AFC-09 (Application For Certification)
99-AFC-9C (Compliance Proceeding)

Project Status: Not Built, License Expired.

The California Energy Commission approved this project's Application for Certification on March 21, 2001. The Commission monitors the power plant's construction, operation and eventual decommissioning through a compliance proceeding.

Committee that oversaw Original Licensing Proceeding:

Robert Pernell, Commissioner, Presiding Member

Robert A. Laurie, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Major Williams, Jr.

Key Dates

  • February 4, 1999 - Western Midway Sunset Cogeneration Company files petition for jurisdictional determination for a Notice of Intention exemption.
  • April 14, 1999 - Commission Approves NOI Exemption.
  • December 22, 1999 - Applicant files Application For Certification (AFC).
  • March 8, 2000 - Commission finds project Data Adequate.
  • August 21, 2000 - Preliminary Staff Assessment released.
  • November 14, 2000 - Final Staff Assessment released.
  • February 16, 2001 - Presiding Members Proposed Decision released.
  • March 19, 2001 - Errata to Presiding Members Proposed Decision released.
  • March 21, 2001 - Commission approves Application For Certification.


On December 22, 1999, the Western Midway Sunset Cogeneration Company (MSCC) filed an Application for Certification (AFC) for the Western Midway Sunset Cogeneration Project. The proposed Western MSCC Power Project will be a nominal 500 megawatt (MW), natural gas-fired, combined cycle, with two combustion turbine generators (CTG) and, two heat recovery steam generators (HRSG), which will supply one steam turbine generator (STG). The Western MSCC plant facilities will occupy approximately 10 acres and will be located adjacent to an existing 225 MW Western Midway Sunset Cogeneration power plant. The existing plant and adjacent site are located approximately 2.5 miles east of Derby Acres in western Kern County, California. The Western MSCC plant will employ 5 new permanent positions in addition to existing MSCC plant staff. The MSCC site address is 3466 Crocker Springs Road, P.O. Box 457, Fellows, Calif.

The proposed power plant will use existing MSCC facilities, pipelines, and construction corridors. It is the intent of the project to transmit power through a new 19-mile 230 KV transmission line to be constructed parallel to and within the existing 230 KV line corridor which connects the existing MSCC plant to PG&E;'s Western Midway Substation at Buttonwillow, California.

The natural gas fuel for the Western MSCC project would be supplied by the two existing gas pipelines. The existing gas lines are sufficient to supply both the Western MSCC and the existing MSCC facility.

Untreated water will be supplied by a new pipeline from West Kern Water District (WKWD). It is the intent of MSCC to use water discharged from the new plant's operations. The reclaimed water will displace an equivalent amount of water form the West Kern County District and others. The existing MSCC plant system will provide all portable and steam cycle makeup water required by the project. The existing 500,000 gallon cooling tower will act as a buffer to be drawn down in the daytime while being filled at night. Functionality of the tank will remain unchanged for the existing MSCC facility. The Western MSCC will use the existing demineralizer water treatment system. The plant water reclamation system will collect cooling tower blowdown, Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) boiler blowdown, and evaporative cooler blowdown. The blowdowns will be routed directly to the MSCC facility for utilization. Water will be collected from washdown, storm water and equipment drains. These streams will be sent to a new oily water separator prior to discharge to the storm water retention area.

Emission control will be provided by a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR). The SCR system consists of the reduction catalyst and an aqueous ammonia injection system. The SCR will use a high activity catalyst on a metal, ceramic or zeolite extruded support structure. The plan identifies a continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) on each HRSG stack to sample, analyze, and record the concentrations of carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and diluent (oxygen/carbon dioxide) in the flue gas.

Western MSCC would be operated as a merchant power facility, selling its energy via direct sales agreements and in the spot market via the California Power Exchange. Energy output and operational levels would vary according to demand in the deregulated California energy market. Electricity prices and operational levels would not be subject to California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulation.

Energy Commission Facility Certification Process

The California Energy Commission is the lead agency (for licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts and larger) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and has a certified regulatory program under CEQA. Under its certified program, the Energy Commission is exempt from having to prepare an environmental impact report. Its certified program, however, does require environmental analysis of the project, including an analysis of alternatives and mitigation measures to minimize any significant adverse effect the project may have on the environment.

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