For immediate release: November 30, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

California Energy Commission Update:
Power Plant Licensing This Week

If Energy Commissioners vote to accept the Executive Director's recommendation at the Energy Commission's December 6, 2000 Business Meeting, review of the proposed Morro Bay Power Plant will be postponed until Duke Energy provides additional information.

On October 23, 2000, Duke Energy submitted plans for a 1,200-megawatt power plant "modernization" at its existing 1,030 megawatt facility in the City of Morro Bay, in San Luis Obispo County. Since then Commission staff has been examining the application to see if it contains enough detailed information for an assessment of the project to proceed.

Based on the staff's recommendation, Steve Larson, the Energy Commission's Executive Director, has recommended to the Commissioners that the application not be accepted as "data adequate."

To be considered "data adequate," an application must include detailed information in 23 technical areas. Energy Commission staff found that Duke Energy's Morro Bay application is incomplete in eight technical areas. These include air quality, land use, traffic and transportation impacts, visual resources, cultural resources, socioeconomics, water resources, and transmission system engineering. In the remaining 15 other technical areas, staff found that Duke's Application for Certification provides adequate information.

The power plant licensing process does not officially begin until a Commission vote finds a proposal to be "data adequate." Once Duke Energy Morro Bay provides additional information to supplement its Application for Certification, the Executive Director will again submit a Data Adequacy recommendation for a full-Commission vote.

Duke Energy is proposing to construct two new generating units to replace its currently operating generation facilities that use technology from the 1950s and 1960s. The latest project calls for the demolition of existing oil tanks, construction of 1,200 megawatts of new combined cycle power plants, and demolition of the existing power plant and stacks to allow redevelopment of the existing site. An earlier, less-extensive plan was submitted to the Commission last August and withdrawn by the applicant in December 1999.

The Executive Director's "Data Adequacy Recommendation" on the proposed Morro Bay Power Plant Project is now available on line at:

Commission to Vote on Petition to Replace Metcalf Siting Committee

At next week's Business Meeting, the California Energy Commission will consider a petition made by an intervenor to replace the siting committee for the proposed Metcalf Energy Center Power Plant.

A petition filed by Robert F. Williams asks that the Presiding Committee Member, Commissioner Robert A. Laurie, and Associate Member, Chairman William Keese, both be replaced "due to demonstrated bias . . .."

Mr. Williams' petition can be viewed on the Energy Commission's Web Site at:

The Metcalf Energy Center, a 600-megawatt, natural gas–fired, combined cycle power plant, is being proposed by Calpine Corporation and Bechtel Enterprises, Inc. Their proposed site lies at the southern base of Tulare Hill in the northern Coyote Valley of south San Jose.

The Energy Commission staff completed a Final Staff Assessment of the proposed Metcalf project in October 2000. That staff document, which is not a final decision on the project, will be become part of the evidentiary record upon which the Metcalf Energy Siting Committee will develop its Proposed Decision.

At tonight's Prehearing Conference in San Jose, the Siting Committee will assess the readiness of all parties to begin evidentiary hearings. The Committee will also develop a schedule for these hearings which are to begin in December.

Last of Calpine's "Peaker" Plants May Be Rejected from Expedited Process — Only Golden Gate Remains

At a special October 31, 2000 Business Meeting, the Energy Commission determined it had enough information to begin a special, four-month-long review of five "peaker" plants proposed by Calpine c* Power. Four of those proposals have already been withdrawn by the applicant. The remaining Calpine project, the Warnerville Substation facility proposed for Stanislaus County, may be rejected from the expedited review process following a full vote at the Energy Commission's December 6, 2000 Business Meeting.

The licensing committee for the Warnerville Project has already accepted the staff's recommendation that the project not remain in the special four-month licensing process. The recommendation is based on information confirmed at a hearing and site visit held in Oakdale on November 17, 2000.

Calpine proposed constructing an 86.4-megawatt power generating facility at the Warnerville Substation owned by the Hetch Hetchy Power Agency.

A Committee order, listing the various reasons the Warnerville Substation Reliability Generation Project does not qualify for an expedited process is on the Energy Commission's Web Site at:

If the Energy Commission votes to remove the Warnerville Substation project from the expedited process, the only "peaker" plant remaining would be the United Golden Gate Simple Cycle Project — a 51 megawatt simple cycle project proposed by El Paso Merchant Energy for construction at the San Francisco International Airport.

The Golden Gate Project is also scheduled for a full Commission vote next Wednesday. The licensing committee has recommended that the El Paso proposal meets the requirements to remain in the four-month permitting process.

Designed to produce electricity during times of peak demand, "peaker" plants are simple cycle, temporary power plants that may receive expedited operating permits, provided they present no significant adverse environmental impacts and are equipped with the best available air emissions control technology. They would be required to be removed or converted to a cleaner, more efficient combined cycle within three years.

Information on "peaker" projects is available at the Commission's Web Site at:

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