NCPA awarded grant from APPA’s DEED program for hydrogen-related study

December 4, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
December 4, 2020

Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) has been awarded a $48,500 grant through the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Demonstration of Energy and Efficiency Developments (DEED) program to study the feasibility of developing a renewable hydrogen production facility at a site near NCPA’s Lodi Energy Center natural gas power plant.

The grant provides 50% of the funding needed to complete the study, with the remaining 50% funded by the 13 Lodi Energy Center project participants.

Operating since 2012, the Lodi Energy Center is a 306-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas power plant located in Lodi, Calif. The plant was the first in the nation to utilize “fast-start” gas-turbine technology to substantially reduce emissions and provide needed support for the integration of the growing California renewable energy market. The plant provides power to 13 public entities, including nine NCPA members, as well as the state of California.

Earlier this year, NCPA announced upgrades to equip the Lodi Energy Center with state-of-the-art technologies capable of integrating a gas blend of up to 45% hydrogen.

This first-of-its-kind application would pave the way for significantly reducing the plant’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and keep the project environmentally viable as the project participants look towards decarbonizing their energy supply, NCPA said.

The presence of a renewable hydrogen production facility near the Lodi Energy Center, located near two major transportation corridors, could offer a dual benefit of providing hydrogen supply for the power plant’s operations as well as fuel for transportation sector needs.

Pending the outcome of the study, NCPA may seek to partner with a third party or parties to construct and operate a hydrogen electrolyzer facility serving both energy and transportation needs. 

NCPA’s feasibility study will analyze several areas related to the potential development of a hydrogen production facility near the Lodi Energy Center, including analysis of safety considerations, community impacts, permitting needs, hydrogen storage capabilities, and available grants/subsidies for developing the hydrogen production facility.

The study results will be shared with APPA and its members, as well as others throughout the industry and academia, to advance technical and policy discussions on the role hydrogen can play in decarbonizing the electricity sector. The study will be completed by the end of the year.

NCPA’s work to prepare the LEC for hydrogen integration consists of two phases. The first phase was completed this past summer with the installation of a hydrogen-capable turbine at the facility.

The second phase, which is expected to be complete by 2023, will include the installation of new, hydrogen-capable combustors within the turbine.

“It’s important to evaluate new options for electricity production that move us toward a greener generation footprint,” said Michele Suddleson, DEED Program Director at APPA.

“This project highlights public power generation innovation and showcases our key strengths of cooperation, joint action, and cost-effective problem solving,” she said.

Headquartered in Roseville, Calif., NCPA is a nonprofit California joint powers agency established in 1968 to construct and operate renewable and low emitting generating facilities and assist in meeting the wholesale energy needs of its 16 members.

Additional information about APPA’s DEED program is available here.