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For immediate release: December 6, 2001
Contact: Mary Ann Costamagna - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission, Western Power Administration
Release East Altamont Energy Center
Preliminary Staff Assessment

Sacramento - A state and federal Staff Assessment of the proposed East Altamont Energy Center is now available from the California Energy Commission.

The preliminary staff assessment is a draft document that contains the Energy Commission and the Western Area Power Administration staff's independent analyses and recommendations on the East Altamont Project. The analysis was completed jointly to minimize duplication between state and federal agencies. The assessment provides an evaluation of the project by the staffs of the Energy Commission and Western and will become the basis of both state and federal decisions on the East Altamont proposal.

The preliminary report makes no recommendation on the proposed power project because more information is needed in the areas of air quality, biological resources, soil and water resources, land use and transmission system engineering. This staff assessment can be viewed on the Energy Commission's website at:


The East Altamont project and its related facilities such as transmission lines, natural gas line, water supply lines and wastewater lines are under the Energy Commission's jurisdiction. When reviewing a project, the Energy Commission acts as lead state agency under the California Environmental Quality Act, a process functionally equivalent to the preparation of an environmental impact report.

The project is also under the jurisdiction of the Western Area Power Administration because the project will, if certified, interconnect with Western's 800-miles of high-voltage transmission lines and associated facilities in Northern California, including the Tracy substation. This federal agency, a part of the U.S. Department of Energy, markets power from federal hydroelectric plants such as those at Shasta and Folsom Dams.

The goal of both staffs is to resolve all outstanding issues about the project prior to release of a Final Staff Assessment by holding Preliminary Staff Assessment workshops and issue resolution workshops that will be scheduled in the next few weeks.

A completion date for the East Altamont Final Staff Assessement now depends on the amount of time required for various parties to provide the information needed for the Energy Commission and Western's review, and for other agencies to issue their determinations on the project.

The $400 - $500 million East Altamont Energy Center, proposed by the Calpine Corporation, would be a 1,100 megawatt, natural-gas-fired cogenerating facility with a 230 kilovolt switchyard and approximately 0.5 miles of transmision lines. If approved, the plant would be built on a 174-acre site in unincorporated Alameda County, one mile southeast of the Contra Costa County line. Construction would be completed and the project would begin producing electricity by June 2004.

Public participation is an important part of the power plant certification process. People may participate in the process in a variety of ways. To find out how to participate, contact Roberta Mendonca, the Energy Commission's Public Adviser, at (916) 654-4489, toll free at (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at: pao@energy.state.ca.us.

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