California’s new 800MW power plant goes online three months early

California's newest power plant, the 800 MW CPV Sentinel Energy Project, has begun flowing electricity to the grid three months early, in time for the summer heat. Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. (CPV), GE unit GE Energy Financial Services and Diamond Generating Corporation (DGC) said the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and the California Energy Commission have declared commercial operations while the Chief Building Officer issued a final Certificate of Occupancy for the natural gas-powered plant in Riverside County.

The CPV Sentinel Energy Project is located near Desert Hot Springs, amidst wind farms producing 600 MW of electricity, five miles northwest of Palm Springs. The project uses the most modern "peaking" power generation technology available, the GE LMS100 aeroderivative gas turbine, to provide electricity to approximately 640,000 homes in Southern California Edison's service territory.

Eight units with quick-starting and fast-ramping capability make the project a perfect fit for Coachella Valley residents during the summer days of triple-digit temperatures and peak energy use, while also backing up California's growing solar and wind farms that literally surround the plant.

The project uses Best Available Control Technology for air emissions and Zero Liquid Discharge for water usage, making it one of the most environmentally friendly natural gas-fired power generation facilities. The commencement of Sentinel's operations is expected to allow the grid operator to rely less on older and inefficient power generation.