Power plant changes hands
by Jon Mendelson
Mar 29, 2013 | 2270 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The GWF Energy power plant on West Schulte Road has been bought by a Houston-based company.

Star West Generation LLC completed the purchase of the natural gas-fueled Tracy facility, along with plants in Hanford and Henrietta, on Dec. 13, according to CEO Malcolm Jacobson.

Jacobson said Star West bought the Tracy plant because it will be needed to provide power as the state becomes more reliant on energy sources such as solar and wind power that are not always consistent.

“These plants are ideally designed to fill that gap,” he said. “They’re designed for flexible operation — you can turn them on and off quickly, and they can be operated across a range of power outputs.”

From 2011 to 2012, GWF rebuilt the plant to be a full-time facility. When it was opened in 2003, it was designed to run only in times of peak electricity demand. The upgrades were completed in November, according to Jacobson, and the facility should be fully operational in April.

The Tracy plant is capable of producing about 340 megawatts.

The CEO called it “state of the art” in many ways, and praised its relatively small environmental footprint.

GWF officials estimated in 2012 that rebuilding the plant would reduce its per-megawatt daily output of greenhouse gases by 30 percent and emissions by 60 percent.

Jacobson said most of the company’s 25 workers in California are in Tracy, and they were “brought right over” when GWF was purchased.

Founded in May 2011, Star West employs about 85 people, according to Jacobson.

• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or jmendelson@tracypress.com.
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