For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 15, 1999
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989
Energy Commission Approves First Major Power Project
Since Electric Utility Industry Deregulation
Sacramento - The California Energy Commission yesterday voted to approve the $300 million, 500- megawatt Sutter Power Project, a power plant industry experts see as the beginning of a generation of cleaner, more efficient high technology plants that bring with them the promise of cheaper electricity for ratepayers.
As the first project approved by the Energy Commission since electric industry restructuring legislation was passed in 1996, the Sutter plant is being viewed as a template for as many as 30 other plants, which may seek licensing to generate and sell electricity.
Yesterday's Commission action gives the Calpine Corporation a final go-ahead to construct and operate a natural gas-fueled, combined cycle electric generation facility on a site adjacent to the firm's existing Greenleaf Unit 1, seven miles southwest of Yuba City. The company expects to start producing electricity in April 2001.
On March 17, 1999, the Commission voted to approve the environmental licensing aspects of the proposed plant, reserving final approval for construction and operation of the project until the Sutter County Board of Supervisors' voted on Calpine's request to change the site's land-use designation from agricultural to industrial use. With a 3 - 1 vote on March 30, 1999, the supervisors agreed to do so, rezoning the 77 acre parcel as needed for construction and operation of the power plant.
The Sutter Power Project Committee is comprised of Energy Commissioner Michal (spelled correctly) C. Moore, Presiding Member, and Chairman William J. Keese, Associate Member.
In its proposed decision on the project, the Committee reviewed 28 separate aspects of the Sutter Power Project including environmental impacts, public health and safety, air quality, hazardous materials, alternatives and engineering.
In its decision, the Committee imposed 165 conditions of certification to ensure that the Sutter Power Project will not impose a significant adverse impact on the environment.
The federal government's review of the project, released on April 13, 1999 by the Western Area Power Administration, concludes that the Sutter Power Plant " would not have a significant impact on the human environment provided that Calpine follows the conditions of certification imposed by the California Energy Commission and detailed in the commission's Presiding Member's Proposed Decision." These conditions were formalized in the Commission's decision adopted Wednesday.
The federal document will be published in the Federal Register on April 23, starting a 30-day public comment period. Western's final record of determination is scheduled for release in late May.
Concurrent with approval of the Sutter Power Project's application, the Commission is reviewing additional projects which include:
The Energy Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to certify site and related facilities for thermal power plants in California that generate 50 megawatts or more of electricity. The Commission's review process includes a comprehensive and objective analysis of all issues including but not limited to public health and safety, air quality, hazardous materials, environmental impacts, engineering design and need. This process fulfills the obligations of the California Environmental Quality Act.
- Delta Energy Center, Contra Costa County (880 megawatts)
- High Desert Power Plant Project, San Bernardino County (680-720 megawatts)
- Pittsburg District Energy Facility Project, Contra Costa County (500 megawatts)
- Sunrise Cogeneration Project, Kern County (300 megawatts)
- La Paloma Generating Project, Kern County (1,043 megawatts)
The Commission's Web Site provides information on the proposed projects at:
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