For immediate release: October 11, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

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State Energy Commission Votes to Begin Review
Of Potrero Power Plant Project

Sacramento -- With a 3 to 0 vote at its Business Meeting on October 11, 2000, the California Energy Commission has begun the formal review process for construction and operation of the Potrero Power Plant Project, a nominal 540-megawatt natural gas-fired, combined cycle power generating facility.

The proposed Potrero Power Plant Unit 7 would be owned and operated by Southern Energy Potrero LLC, a direct subsidiary of Southern Energy of California. It would run in conjunction with an existing 206-megawatt steam turbine and three 52-megawatt combustion turbines now at the Potrero Power Plant. The existing plant was purchased by Southern Energy of California from PG&E in April 1999.

The proposed power plant and its ancillary facilities would be operated as a merchant power facility, selling its energy via direct sales agreements and in the spot market through the California Power Exchange. Energy output and operational levels would vary according to demand in the deregulated California energy market.

The Commission vote marks the start of a 12-month review process. Some of the issues examined over the course of the review include public health and safety, air quality, hazardous materials, environmental impacts, environmental justice, and engineering design. Public input is a key element in each phase of the Energy Commission's power plant certification process.

If approved, pollution controls on the Potrero Power Plant would include systems to control the emissions of oxides of nitrogen and catalysts to control carbon monoxide emissions. Water from the San Francisco Bay will be used for cooling purposes. New water intake and discharge systems will be constructed at the shoreline adjacent to Unit 3 of the existing Potrero Power Plant. Discharged cooling water will be returned to the Bay through four pipes extending about 700 feet offshore from the site. Water supplied by the City of San Francisco will be used for the plant's steam production process, evaporative coolers and for wash and potable water.

Interconnection with the State's high voltage transmission system would be through a proposed new Potrero Power Plant Switchyard, located onsite, and two existing PG&E substations. One PG&E substation is adjacent to the site, while the other is located at Hunter's Point. Transmission lines to the Hunter's Point substation would be placed underground.

The proposed power plant is expected to cost between $260 and $320 million and to be operational by the summer of 2003.

In a related action, the Energy Commission designated Commissioner Robert Pernell the Presiding Member of the Potrero Power Plant Siting Committee. Chairman William J. Keese serves as Associate Member.

The Energy Commission's Web Site provides information on the proposed project at:

Persons requiring information on how to participate in the Energy Commission's review of the proposed project should contact Roberta Mendonca, the Energy Commission's Public Adviser, at (916) 654-4489, toll free at (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at

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