Construction broke ground August 29 on a $950 million project to repower the aging Scattergood Generating Station in Playa Del Rey, near Los Angeles.

Led by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and main contractor Kiewit Power Constructors Co., the Scattergood Unit 3 Repowering Project will construct four power generating units at the facility and include the demolition of existing structures and the construction of two full size units on the lower level and two smaller units on the middle level of the plant.  

The project will replace the plant’s Unit 3 with a highly efficient combined cycle (natural gas and steam) turbine and two simple-cycle turbines. Both the combined-cycle and the simple-cycle turbines have fast start and ramp-up capabilities for short-term increases in electrical demand and for more flexible integration of renewable energy.

The LADWP says the new generating units will be 33% more fuel efficient than the existing Unit 3 and feature advanced pollution control systems, thereby reducing emissions of air pollutants and greenhouses gases.

Project officials say the repowering will also reduce harmful impacts on marine habitat by replacing the current ocean cooling system at Unit 3 with an air-cooled condenser for the combined-cycle unit and an air-cooled heat exchanger for the smaller simple-cycle units.

LADWP’s Scattergood Generating Station is a 55-acre facility located across from the ocean. It provides energy to meet base load requirements within LADWP’s electrical power service system. The station was built in the late 1950s and has three existing conventional steam turbine generators that burn natural gas in boiler units for a total gross capacity of 830 megawatts (MW).

Capacity for Scattergood Unit 1 will be lowered to meet air quality standards and Unit 3 will be replaced by a highly-efficient, combined-cycle generator consisting of a steam generator and a natural gas combustion turbine generator, similar to a jet engine. Heat exhaust from this engine will be harnessed to power a secondary steam generator to complete the cycle.

In an effort to modernize, the LADWP says that over the next 5 to 15 years, it will replace over 70% of existing power generation with major investments to modernize its infrastructure, meet renewable energy and energy efficiency goals and eliminate the use of coal power.

LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols said in a recent news release that the project will support more than 9,500 annual jobs, generate more than $2 billion in economic output, and over $189.3 million in tax revenue. Construction is scheduled to complete in December 2015.