Oildale cogeneration plant closes

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Oildale cogeneration facility closes Filed: 02/17/2001

By CHIP POWER Californian staff writer

The domino effect from utility companies that can't pay their bills has hit United American Energy Corp., which shut down its 40-megawatt cogeneration plant in Oildale.

The shutdown of its Oildale cogeneration facility eliminates precious power production from the already over-stressed California power system and creates problems for Golden Bear Oil Refinery next door, officials said.

The natural gas plant employs 10 and produces electricity for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., said plant manager Mike Pankratz.

It also provides heat the refinery uses in its operations.

"The real problem in this state is the price of natural gas," Pankratz said. He said United American hadn't been paid for 21/2 months and that it could no longer extend credit to PG&E.

The shutdown causes hardships at Golden Bear, said company president Tom Pensak. The refinery depends on steam from the plant.

The company has adopted a "revamped scheme" as a temporary measure. "We're staying on as close to normal schedule as possible," he said, by relying on other energy sources.

The company is meeting customer orders, he said.

The refining company employs more than 150 people. One said the cogeneration shutdown puts the employees "in limbo."

Pensak said there hadn't been any furloughs and was hopeful that a resolution to the natural gas problems would be resolved.

The cogeneration plant provides enough energy to power 40,000 homes, and Golden Bear officials said it was troublesome that the relatively low-cost electricity was no longer available while utilities and state electric managers continue to be forced to import electricity from other Western states at a hefty premium.

Without the PG&E funds, UAE was unable to pay its gas supplier. As a result, the supplier turned off the gas.

"This issue is at the heart of the energy crisis in California and is causing a domino effect that is beginning to topple generators and potentially fuel suppliers," said Ed Tomeo, UAE president. "If this situation is allowed to continue, the impact could be catastrophic."

Small cogeneration plants, along with wind, solar, biomass and landfill gas providers, provide about 2,400 megawatts of power for the state's grid. In recent months, that power has often saved the state from plunging into rolling blackouts.

On Friday, a group of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and landfill gas electricity generators announced that they have formed a creditors' committee to consider options in light of Southern California Edison's failure to pay for the power produced by the group in California.

Edison has failed to pay the group as a whole approximately $210 million for power generated since November, despite the fact that the generators have continued to keep their plants operating and delivering power to Edison to avoid making California's power shortage even worse, the coalition announced.

The continued non-payment places the generators in an untenable position as they cannot continue to provide their green electricity to Californians while absorbing ongoing operating costs, the group said in a statement.

The creditors' group noted that under recently passed legislation (AB 1X), out-of-state conventional fossil fuel (primarily gas and coal) generators are expected to be paid by the state of California to sell their power into the state through the proceeds of a $10 billion bond issue.

No provision has been made to pay in-state renewable energy generators.

Those comprising the group include:

Caithness Energy: wind, geothermal and solar thermal in the Ridgecrest area.

CalEnergy Co.: geothermal in the Imperial Valley.

CalWind Resources: wind in Tehachapi.

Coram Energy Group: wind at three locations in Tehachapi.

Enxco: wind in the Palm Springs area.

FPL Energy: wind, geothermal and solar thermal energy in Imperial Valley, Tehachapi and Mojave.

Ogden Energy Group: geothermal, biomass and landfill gas facilities.

Wintec: wind in the Palm Springs area.

Copyrightę 2001, The Bakersfield Californian | Email the Webmaster Privacy Policy Statement | Terms of Use Oildale cogeneration facility closes Filed: 02/17/2001

By CHIP POWER Californian staff writer

The domino effect from utility companies that can't pay their bills has hit United American Energy Corp., which shut down its 40-megawatt cogeneration plant in Oildale.

The shutdown of its Oildale cogeneration facility eliminates precious power production from the already over-stressed California power system and creates problems for Golden Bear Oil Refinery next door, officials said.

The natural gas plant employs 10 and produces electricity for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., said plant manager Mike Pankratz.

It also provides heat the refinery uses in its operations.

"The real problem in this state is the price of natural gas," Pankratz said. He said United American hadn't been paid for 21/2 months and that it could no longer extend credit to PG&E.

The shutdown causes hardships at Golden Bear, said company president Tom Pensak. The refinery depends on steam from the plant.

The company has adopted a "revamped scheme" as a temporary measure. "We're staying on as close to normal schedule as possible," he said, by relying on other energy sources.

The company is meeting customer orders, he said.

The refining company employs more than 150 people. One said the cogeneration shutdown puts the employees "in limbo."

Pensak said there hadn't been any furloughs and was hopeful that a resolution to the natural gas problems would be resolved.

The cogeneration plant provides enough energy to power 40,000 homes, and Golden Bear officials said it was troublesome that the relatively low-cost electricity was no longer available while utilities and state electric managers continue to be forced to import electricity from other Western states at a hefty premium.

Without the PG&E funds, UAE was unable to pay its gas supplier. As a result, the supplier turned off the gas.

"This issue is at the heart of the energy crisis in California and is causing a domino effect that is beginning to topple generators and potentially fuel suppliers," said Ed Tomeo, UAE president. "If this situation is allowed to continue, the impact could be catastrophic."

Small cogeneration plants, along with wind, solar, biomass and landfill gas providers, provide about 2,400 megawatts of power for the state's grid. In recent months, that power has often saved the state from plunging into rolling blackouts.

On Friday, a group of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and landfill gas electricity generators announced that they have formed a creditors' committee to consider options in light of Southern California Edison's failure to pay for the power produced by the group in California.

Edison has failed to pay the group as a whole approximately $210 million for power generated since November, despite the fact that the generators have continued to keep their plants operating and delivering power to Edison to avoid making California's power shortage even worse, the coalition announced.

The continued non-payment places the generators in an untenable position as they cannot continue to provide their green electricity to Californians while absorbing ongoing operating costs, the group said in a statement.

The creditors' group noted that under recently passed legislation (AB 1X), out-of-state conventional fossil fuel (primarily gas and coal) generators are expected to be paid by the state of California to sell their power into the state through the proceeds of a $10 billion bond issue.

No provision has been made to pay in-state renewable energy generators.

Those comprising the group include:

Caithness Energy: wind, geothermal and solar thermal in the Ridgecrest area.

CalEnergy Co.: geothermal in the Imperial Valley.

CalWind Resources: wind in Tehachapi.

Coram Energy Group: wind at three locations in Tehachapi.

Enxco: wind in the Palm Springs area.

FPL Energy: wind, geothermal and solar thermal energy in Imperial Valley, Tehachapi and Mojave.

Ogden Energy Group: geothermal, biomass and landfill gas facilities.

Wintec: wind in the Palm Springs area.

Copyrightę 2001, The Bakersfield Californian Privacy Policy Statement | Terms of Use Oildale cogeneration facility closes Filed: 02/17/2001

By CHIP POWER Californian staff writer

The domino effect from utility companies that can't pay their bills has hit United American Energy Corp., which shut down its 40-megawatt cogeneration plant in Oildale.

The shutdown of its Oildale cogeneration facility eliminates precious power production from the already over-stressed California power system and creates problems for Golden Bear Oil Refinery next door, officials said.

The natural gas plant employs 10 and produces electricity for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., said plant manager Mike Pankratz.

It also provides heat the refinery uses in its operations.

"The real problem in this state is the price of natural gas," Pankratz said. He said United American hadn't been paid for 21/2 months and that it could no longer extend credit to PG&E.

The shutdown causes hardships at Golden Bear, said company president Tom Pensak. The refinery depends on steam from the plant.

The company has adopted a "revamped scheme" as a temporary measure. "We're staying on as close to normal schedule as possible," he said, by relying on other energy sources.

The company is meeting customer orders, he said.

The refining company employs more than 150 people. One said the cogeneration shutdown puts the employees "in limbo."

Pensak said there hadn't been any furloughs and was hopeful that a resolution to the natural gas problems would be resolved.

The cogeneration plant provides enough energy to power 40,000 homes, and Golden Bear officials said it was troublesome that the relatively low-cost electricity was no longer available while utilities and state electric managers continue to be forced to import electricity from other Western states at a hefty premium.

Without the PG&E funds, UAE was unable to pay its gas supplier. As a result, the supplier turned off the gas.

"This issue is at the heart of the energy crisis in California and is causing a domino effect that is beginning to topple generators and potentially fuel suppliers," said Ed Tomeo, UAE president. "If this situation is allowed to continue, the impact could be catastrophic."

Small cogeneration plants, along with wind, solar, biomass and landfill gas providers, provide about 2,400 megawatts of power for the state's grid. In recent months, that power has often saved the state from plunging into rolling blackouts.

On Friday, a group of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and landfill gas electricity generators announced that they have formed a creditors' committee to consider options in light of Southern California Edison's failure to pay for the power produced by the group in California.

Edison has failed to pay the group as a whole approximately $210 million for power generated since November, despite the fact that the generators have continued to keep their plants operating and delivering power to Edison to avoid making California's power shortage even worse, the coalition announced.

The continued non-payment places the generators in an untenable position as they cannot continue to provide their green electricity to Californians while absorbing ongoing operating costs, the group said in a statement.

The creditors' group noted that under recently passed legislation (AB 1X), out-of-state conventional fossil fuel (primarily gas and coal) generators are expected to be paid by the state of California to sell their power into the state through the proceeds of a $10 billion bond issue.

No provision has been made to pay in-state renewable energy generators.

Those comprising the group include:

Caithness Energy: wind, geothermal and solar thermal in the Ridgecrest area.

CalEnergy Co.: geothermal in the Imperial Valley.

CalWind Resources: wind in Tehachapi.

Coram Energy Group: wind at three locations in Tehachapi.

Enxco: wind in the Palm Springs area.

FPL Energy: wind, geothermal and solar thermal energy in Imperial Valley, Tehachapi and Mojave.

Ogden Energy Group: geothermal, biomass and landfill gas facilities.

Wintec: wind in the Palm Springs area.

Copyrightę 2001, The Bakersfield Californian | Email the Webmaster Privacy Policy Statement | Terms of Use

-- Drew Kolosky (Kolosky@Prodigy.net), February 17, 2001


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