For immediate release: February 21, 2001
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

Energy Commission Siting Committee
Recommends Approval of Blythe Energy Project

Sacramento A California Energy Commission Siting Committee has recommended licensing of the 520-megawatt Blythe Energy Project being proposed for construction five miles west of the City of Blythe, in eastern Riverside County.

The recommendation comes in the Presiding Member's Proposed Decision released Saturday, February 17, 2001. Following a 30-day period for public comment, the Energy Commission should vote to consider the approval of the proposed decision in late-March.

The decision is now available and can be printed from the Energy Commission's Web Site at

www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/blythe

The proposed combined cycle, natural gas-fired, electricity-generating facility would be built on a 76-acre site near the Blythe Airport. If approved by the Commission, the $250 million project will begin construction in the second quarter of 2001, providing as many as 480 construction jobs. By mid- to late-2002, the power plant should be on-line, providing electricity to the California market and to other markets.

Energy Commission Chairman William Keese serves as Presiding Member of the Blythe Energy Project Review Committee. Commissioner Robert Laurie is the Associate Member.

According to the Committee, the Blythe project is entitled to certification not only under local ordinances and regulations but under the Warren-Alquist Act and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), based on evidence presented at formal hearings. Because the new facility will tie into the Western Area Power Administration grid, the Energy Commission has also been working closely with that organization to insure that the Blythe Project meets not only California environmental regulations but also those of the National Environmental Policy Act.

The new facility will use state-of-the-art Best Available Control Technology to minimize air emissions. It will use natural gas supplied from a nearby SoCal Gas pipeline, and/or an 11.5-mile pipeline that would connect with the El Paso Natural Gas Facility across the Colorado River in nearby Ehrenberg, Arizona.

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