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City: Almond Power plant expansion will aid sewer percolation
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Since 2000 the Almond Power Plant sitting in a field south of Ceres has been using water from a well near the city of Ceres sewer plant. The plant generates electricity by burning gas to turn jet plane turbines and by mixing the water with heat from those engines to make steam. Water that is left over is sent to the sewer plant for processing.

Turlock Irrigation District, which owns the plant, now seeks to increase the size of the plant and needs more water. On Oct. 12 the Ceres City Council approved a modification to the agreement to accept more "reject" water from the plant.

The move is beneficial to the city, said Public Works Director Phil Scott. Drawing more water up from beneath the sewer plant will allow sewer ponds to percolate into the ground faster and thus give the city more disposal capacity.

Scott said TID will be extracting 10 percent more water than it does currently and be increasing return waste water at a rate of four percent.

"The increase in pumping will increase the percolation rare on the city's ponds by 20 percent thereby providing the city with a net gain of 16 percent more percolation in the ponds influenced by the TID extraction well," said Scott in his staff report to the council.

The plan must be approved by the state Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The new agreement calls for Ceres to accept up to 560,000 gallons per day in the sewer plant from the power plant.

The TID plant will use up to 1.13 million gallons of water each day of operation.

TID has a 4.6-acre parcel adjacent to the existing 48 megawatt (MW) TID Almond Power Plant. TID plans to begin construction in the third quarter of 2010, continuing for a year, with full-scale operation targeted for late 2011.

The $7.6 million plant would be a natural-gas fired, simple-cycle peaking facility rated at a gross generating capacity of 174 megawatts (MW). General Electric would supply TID with three 58-MW LM6000PG turbines equipped with a water injection system to the turbine in order to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) formation, and a selective catalytic reduction system to further control NOx emissions.

The expansion will quadruple the plant's current output and reduce the district's need to purchase wholesale electricity, helping TID meet future power needs. The Almond plant expansion will add up to 150 megawatts (MW) to TID's 50-MW Almond Power Plant. One megawatt is enough electricity to power about 300 homes in summer and about 1,000 in winter.

Power will be transmitted to the grid at 115 kilovolts (kV) through two new transmission lines which will connect to the proposed Grayson Substation which will be located approximately 3,300 feet from the site. The substation is expected to be complete before the project is operational.

To get the required natural gas to burn in the turbines, PG&E will construct an 8-inch natural gas pipeline to their supply line several miles from the site.