For immediate release: December 6, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989


Energy Commission Approves Two More Power Plants
Adding 820 Megawatts to the State Power Grid

Sacramento -- At its December 6, 2000 Business Meeting, the California Energy Commission voted to license two new power plants to be built in the oil fields of western Kern County -- one a permanent, 500-megawatt project with an expected life span of 30 years, and the other a temporary 320-megawatt "peaker" plant only licensed to the end of 2002.


Elk Hills Power Project

By a vote of four to zero, the Energy Commission approved the $300 million, 500-megawatt Elk Hills Power Project, an electrical generating plant to be built near the oil community of Tupman, approximately 25 miles west of Bakersfield.

The project is owned by Elk Hills LLC, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy Resources and Occidental Energy Ventures Corporation. It will be located on a 12-acre site at the approximate center of the 74-square-mile Elk Hills Oil and Gas Field. A combined-cycle generation facility, the project will be fueled by natural gas extracted from the local area.

A significant concern with the project had been the use of "potable" well water supplied by the West Kern Water District. In its decision today, the Energy Commission found that, although the water may be considered potable, alternatives are limited and recycled water is unavailable at a reasonable cost.

The Elk Hills Power Project should take approximately 15 months to construct and should be on line for the summer of 2002. The project is expected to create approximately 350 construction jobs and about 20 permanent positions.


Sunrise Power Project

Kern County's Sunrise Power Project was also approved today by a four to zero vote of the Energy Commission, making it the first "peaker" power plant to be licensed since the Legislature passed new legislation -- AB 970 --Ędesigned to speed construction of temporary facilities.

The project should be on line in time to generate and deliver power for the summer of 2001 and 2002.

When the Sunrise Power Project began the licensing process in 1999, it was proposed as a cogeneration facility, designed to create 320 megawatts of electricity and to produce steam for use in the Midway-Sunset oilfields that are adjacent to its 20-acre site. It was to be owned by Sunrise Cogeneration and Power Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Texaco, Inc. That project faced challenges on issues such as air quality.

Ownership of the project changed to Edison Mission Energy, and this September the applicant amended the project to be a single-cycle peaking power plant. Their new plan takes advantage of engineering and development work and environmental studies already done for the project, located in western Kern County, approximately 35 miles southwest of Bakersfield, near the small oil field community of Derby Acres.

Now, with its single-cycle "peaker" design, the plant will no longer be producing steam for the oil fields. As a temporary "peaker" facility, the plant is licensed to operate until December 31, 2002. At that time it must be shut down or converted to either a combined cycle or a cogeneration facility.

Construction of the $180 million generating facility should take an estimated nine months and should provide 150 construction jobs. It is expected to be on line August 2001.

With the approval of these two power projects, eight power plants have now been approved by the California Energy Commission since electricity restructuring began in March 1998. These eight projects will add 5,528 megawatts to the State's power grid. A megawatt is enough electricity to power 1,000 typical California homes.

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