GE Power is proceeding with the sale of its 375-MW Inland Empire Energy Center in Riverside County and is working with The Branford Group and Chain Asset Management Solutions on finding a buyer.

The Branford Group has begun entertaining offers for equipment at the facility via a private treaty sale.

"The goal for everybody involved is to sell to one buyer," Branford Group Vice President Andy Duncan told California Energy Markets. "We have received calls, but we're not sure how it's going to play."

GE Power in June told the California Public Utilities Commission in a filing that the Inland Empire Energy Center is no longer financially viable to operate and that demolition will make way for a battery storage project (see CEM No. 1545).

The Riverside County plant was originally designed to supply baseload generation, but it does not have the fast-start capabilities needed to fulfill the California Independent System Operator's peak demand needs as more renewables come on line [01-AFC-17C]. It has operated below capacity for several years.

The gas turbine combined-cycle power plant in Menifee was originally permitted in 2003, but purchased from Calpine in 2005 to be used as the initial site for GE's then-new 7H gas turbine technology, which was installed at the plant. The steam-cooled technology was supplanted by an air-cooled turbine.

The original California Energy Commission decision document stated that the facility was expected to be operational for at least 30 years, but GE, which fully owns the plant, no longer manufactures any parts for these turbines. It is one of three plants worldwide that GE Power owns.

Unit 2 has been mothballed since March 2017. Unit 1 is apparently continuing in operation until year's end, based on existing resource-adequacy commitments that extend through Dec. 31.

The site and some assets will be sold to Nova Power, which intends to develop a battery energy storage system. 

Offers for the remaining equipment and machinery, which is being advertised as being in "pristine condition" and entailing less emissions and less fuel consumption per megawatt of power generated than comparably sized power plants, are being considered through Dec. 31. The Branford Group also says this is "a rare opportunity" for potential buyers "to upgrade their outdated power generation capabilities with newer more efficient capacity at a reduced price."

The Branford Group states that in the event the plant's contents are "not purchased in its entirety" by Dec. 31, the machinery and equipment will be sold separately by online auction in January 2020.

GE Power has not yet indicated what, if any, financial loss it will take as a result of the plant's closure.