NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), has entered commercial operation at its El Segundo Energy Center, a natural gas–fueled, combined-cycle generating facility located near Los Angeles, CA. The plant produces 550 megawatts (MW) of efficient and flexible electricity to the California grid – enough to supply power to nearly 450,000 homes. The fast-start, rapid response power generation employed by El Segundo delivers more than half of its generating capacity in less than 10 minutes and the balance in less than 1 hour; allowing it to back up and enable greater use of intermittent renewable technology. “Our modernization efforts at El Segundo ideally complement California’s growth of intermittent renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, in support of the State’s renewable portfolio standard while maintaining its tradition of being a good neighbor to the surrounding coastal communities,” said John Chillemi, President of NRG Energy’s West Region . “In addition, we have worked with the community to improve the visual aesthetics of the site by incorporating native landscaping, installing a new picturesque sea wall, and affording improved coastal views with the lower profile of the plant.” The El Segundo Energy Center project contributed to other significant environmental benefits, including the retirement of a less efficient, vintage, 335 MW steam boiler unit constructed in 1964 that relied on ocean water for cooling. The new Energy Center relies on reclaimed water for its state-of-the art, air-cooled, combined cycle operation, reducing the use of potable water at the site by nearly 90 percent. The El Segundo Energy Center meets or exceeds the State’s and South Coast’s strict air quality standards and will use 30 percent less natural gas per megawatt produced than the original steam boilers, thereby supporting California’s objective of meeting 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2020. Further enhancing the aesthetics of the site, the project included the removal of two large oil tanks, which improves community views of the local coastline.