BP plc and Edison International subsidiary Edison Mission Group on Friday announced plans to build a $1 billion, 500-megawatt hydrogen-fueled power plant in Carson.


The first such "low carbon producing" power plant in the nation would be built alongside BP's refinery in Carson. It would generate enough power to serve 325,000 homes when it comes on line, now tentatively set for 2011.


A joint venture between BP and Edison, the proposed plant would use several technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.


Part of the plant would convert petroleum coke to hydrogen and carbon dioxide; the hydrogen gas would be used to power a turbine to generate electricity. The estimated four million tons of carbon dioxide gas generated each year would be transported by pipeline each year to an oilfield and stored in underground rock formations where it would improve the oil recovery process.


In a related announcement, Occidental Petroleum Corp. said Friday it is now in discussions with BP about having the carbon dioxide from the proposed Carson plant transported to several of its oil fields, including one nearby in Long Beach.


Occidental said it is the world's largest user of carbon dioxide injected into oil fields; it currently injects more than one billion cubic feet of the gas into its Permian Basin oil fields in west Texas and New Mexico.


Speaking at the BP-Edison announcement, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "This will be the first plant of its kind in the whole country and I think it's a perfect fit for our state."


Before it could be built, however, the plant would need approvals from several state and local agencies, including the state Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.


BP and Edison Mission Group already jointly operate a cogeneration plant at its Carson refinery; some of the electric power is used to run the refinery, while the rest is sold to Edison's utility subsidiary Southern California Edison. Friday's announcement did not address whether Edison would purchase the electricity produced from this proposed power plant.


But Edison chief executive John Bryson said the power generated by the plant would be crucial for a state with electricity supplies stretched to the limit.


"The Carson project has the potential to provide new, environmentally sound electricity generation at a time when California's growing economy needs additional power supplies," Bryson said.

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