June 26, 2001
FELLOWS, Calif., June 27, 2001-Gov. Gray Davis today "switched on" California's newest power plant in a bid to help ease the state's energy crisis. Edison Mission Energy, an Edison International company, and Texaco Power & Gasification, a division of Texaco Inc., announced that their Sunrise Power Project is providing reasonably priced electricity to the people of California more than one month ahead of schedule - just in time for the long, hot summer.
Gov. Gray Davis; John Bryson, EIX chairman, CEO and president; and James Houck, president of Texaco Power & Gasification today celebrated the plant's achieving full commercial operation at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the plant site in western Kern County.
"To solve the power crisis and restore a reliable electric system, California must have financially healthy utilities," Bryson said. "Today's celebration of this vital new Sunrise power plant - at stable, cost-based rates for consumers for the next decade - is a significant step by Edison in honoring its commitments under the agreement with Governor Davis to restore SCE to financial health. Now we urgently need action by the State Legislature and the California PUC to make SCE financially sound and allow it to stay in business."
Last summer, as wholesale power prices in California began to soar to runaway levels and it became apparent that new supply across the western United States needed urgently to be brought on line, Edison set out to find a means to bring a large, new power project on line in less than one year. This is something that had never been done before. Edison's talented people scoured the state and found a unique opportunity.
Our long-term partner, Texaco, had begun permitting this site as a 320-MW enhanced oil recovery cogeneration project scheduled to start in 2002. Permitting stalled and the project lost its steam purchaser thereby making it uneconomical. In fact, the actual turbine for the project was about to be shipped to Brazil. The turbine was literally on the dock in Long Beach, ready for shipment when the Edison Mission Energy team stepped in.
They had the vision to propose reconfiguring the project as a combined cycle project and to split the construction into two phases. Not only did this increase the eventual output to 560 MW but, more importantly, the phased construction would allow for a critical summer 2001 start-up as a 320-MW, simple cycle peaking facility.
The Edison team negotiated with Texaco to buy the rights to the project, and to purchase the turbine, so Edison could get the project permitted and build the reconfigured power plant. Terms were reached with Texaco which included an option to buy back in to fifty percent of the project up until commercial operation. Texaco did exercise their option this week.
As Edison completed the purchase of the project from Texaco, Edison worked out a labor agreement with the State Building Trades Council to work together to build the project. Finally, Edison pushed ahead with the permitting. By December, Edison was ready to break ground, bringing us a superb, highly efficient power plant at a time when it is most urgently needed. From the first shovel of dirt to the first production of power, this job was done in a record six months.
"That is a great accomplishment resulting from innovative thinking in response to a difficult challenge," Bryson said.
The Sunrise Power Project is being completed in two phases. Phase 1, which is on-line now, consists of a 320-megawatt (MW), simple-cycle peaking facility. Phase 2 will convert the peaking facility to a 560-MW, combined-cycle operation with an in-service date of summer 2003. Even though the project was built in record time, it meets or exceeds all pertinent environmental and safety standards.
Permitting approval for this project was obtained on an expedited basis with assistance from the Governor's Green Team and with cooperation from the CEC, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the other agencies involved. In addition, EME negotiated an agreement with labor unions for an adequate supply of skilled labor during the accelerated construction process. Construction management, labor, contractors, and equipment suppliers demonstrated a high level of teamwork and commitment to bring the project on line as quickly as possible.
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Based in Rosemead, Calif., Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison, Edison Mission Energy, Edison Capital, Edison O&M Services, and Edison Enterprises.