LOS ANGELES (April 27, 2021) – The Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners today unanimously adopted a resolution that will pave the way for a two-year demolition project of Valley Generating Station’s original four Units and associated structures set to begin in early 2022. The units have not been operational since 2002.
The Board approved a resolution to adopt what is called an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) which outlines demolition plans for the previously decommissioned equipment and structures at Valley Generating Station.
While the equipment to be demolished under this newly-approved plan has not been in use for nearly two decades, LADWP recognizes the approval of today’s plan is an important milestone for the Northeast San Fernando Valley and neighborhoods surrounding the power plant.
The project scope includes removal of the four 250-foot tall red and white stacks, as well as equipment and structures within the demolition boundaries such as footings, cooling tower foundations, and underground fuel oil service tanks. This milestone adoption fulfills LADWP’s responsibilities under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a necessary step before implementation of the Valley Generating Station Demolition Project can proceed.
While the future reuse of the site as a renewable energy hub will require an independent environmental review, demolition of decommissioned Units 1-4 and associated structures will free up land for the installation of a future renewable energy project to help LADWP meet greenhouse gas reduction goals and reach 100% renewable energy as set forth in the recently released LA100 study. For more information about the Valley Generating Station, visit www.ladwp.com/valleygen.
Valley Generating Station, located in the Sun Valley community, is one of LADWP’s four in-basin natural gas-fueled power plants. It has a capacity to generate 576 MW, about 6 percent of the City’s total power generation. It was originally commissioned in the 1950s with four conventional boiler/steam units marked by their 250-foot tall, red and white stacks – that could run on either natural gas or fuel oil.
In the early 2000s, as part of modernizing LADWP’s power plant fleet, the original four units were taken out of service and four new, more efficient units – were commissioned to take their place. The original four decommissioned units are the units approved today by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners for demolition.
The demolition of the towers is unrelated to the issues relating to the methane releases from the compressors that LADWP staff brought to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners’ attention last fall. More information is available at www.ladwpnews.com/ladwp-statement-on-repairs/.
As for the units in operation at Valley Generating Station – simple cycle Unit 5 and combined cycle Units 6, 7 & 8—they are outfitted with advanced pollution control equipment that reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Specifically, the new Units are 95% cleaner (per MW unit) than the old Units 1 – 4 which did not have advanced pollution controls. Unit 5, a 43-MW (net) simple cycle natural gas turbine, was commissioned in 2001 and has a NOx emission of less than 5 parts per million. Units 6, 7, and 8 – a 533-MW (net) combined cycle consisting of two natural gas turbines (Units 6 and 7) and one steam turbine (Unit 8) – were commissioned in 2003. Each natural gas turbine has a NOx emission level less than 2.5 parts per million. For comparison, their predecessors, Units 1-4, had a 100 parts per million NOx emission level.
Unit 5 is used for peaking power at times of very high demand typically during hot summer months. Units 6, 7, and 8 are some of the most efficient units in the Los Angeles basin and are also critical to supplying energy during higher demand. In the last few years, the typical mode of operation has been to start these units in the late afternoon, when the large capacity of solar power declines, and then shut them down after midnight when the evening demand drops off.
In 2018, VGS generated 1.5 million MWH which was 30 percent of the plant’s total capacity. This represents 5.7 percent of LADWP’s overall power generation, which equates to serving approximately 250,000 homes on average in the City of Los Angeles. By providing fast-start power to support peak demand, Valley Generating Station units ensure continuous reliability.