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Lincoln Bleveans's picture
Executive Director -- Sustainability & Energy Management Stanford University

Global Energy, Water, and Sustainability Executive | Thought Leader, Speaker, and Writer | Strategy, Planning, Project Development, Operations, M&A, and Transformation | Team Builder...

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  • Feb 26, 2021
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Even power plants have mid-life crises.  Here's how we are giving ours a new life in Burbank, CA.  

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 26, 2021

If the middle aged denizens of corporate America can adapt to have viral trends and memes a part of their marketing campaigns, recognizing the changing nature of information-sharing, then the middle aged power plants can likewise have flexibility and smart functionality as a part of the rest of their power delivery years. Society is all about evolving, and as you show that extends to our core infrastructure!

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 26, 2021

"We carefully studied the alternatives — like shutting MPP down early, replacing it with energy storage, or simply operating it as-is until 2037 — but none made as much economic and operational sense as GE's proposal."

Lincoln, the smart engineers at BWP never considered energy storage a "replacement" for Burbank's clean gas generation - if anything, it would only make it dirtier. Time for this "energy storage" fad to just go away.

"The strategic timing is right for BWP too: we'll jump vault from one-third to more than two-thirds renewables in 2025-6, on our way to 100% GHG-free."

Ah, BWP has found the Holy Grail of renewable energy. Be sure to share the secret of how to make the sun shine at night / wind blow constantly with Germany. That country plans to close all of its carbon-free nuclear plants by the end of this year and replace them with either coal, Russian gas, or Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). All three increase carbon emissions (More CO2 from RECs? Who knew?).

GE's proposal for BWP might make sense for the short term, but would never allow Burbank to be 100% GHG-free. Me, I see 3-4 NuScale SMR modules in Burbank's future. It would allow our city to meet California's goal 20 years early, and set an example for a state still dependent on imported coal power to keep the lights on.

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Feb 26, 2021

Making an old Combines cycle gas plant respond fast is a good move but it's still uses gas and boils water. Peaking plants like these have helped balance the need for power and production for years but are really outdated even with a very costly upgrade. As Texas found if the gas lines are interrupted they can't help. The US also hit Peak NG in 2004. Most today come from Fracking. They are very short lived NG sources. 

   We should also upgrade all the Hydro dams across the USA. Many are very outdated and could easily produce double the power. They give power 24/7 with no fuel and make no pollution. 

   The new advanced Mega Battery storage can make all power plants on the GRID better and more efficient. I think they should look at this project or others like it again. They need to look 10 to 20 years ahead not just for this year and next. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 26, 2021

"Peaking plants...are really outdated even with a very costly upgrade."

No Jim, actually they are necessary to regulate and balance the output of the city's solar panels. Without Burbank solar, peakers wouldn't be needed at all.

And "the new Advanced Battery Storage" is imaginary. It doesn't exist.

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