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For Immediate Release: February 13, 2002
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler (916) 654-4989

N E W S     R E L E A S E


Energy Commission Releases Final Staff Assessment of
Potrero Power Plant Unit 7

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission staff recommends licensing of the Potrero Power Plant Project only with mitigation that includes two key measures. Those measures would reduce local air pollution and eliminate the use of San Francisco Bay water to cool the proposed facility.

The measures recommended by the Energy Commission staff to reduce the project's impacts on public health and the environment include the following:

  • Local mitigation to cut local air pollution and its resulting public health impacts. The staff's recommendation would require the applicant to spend $1 million to retrofit diesel vehicles in San Francisco, primarily school busses, Muni busses and garbage trucks, or provide an ultra-low-sulfur diesel or natural gas refueling station to reduce air pollution.
  • The staff also recommends a hybrid or dry cooling system for the plant in place of the once-through system that is part of the applicant's proposal. The hybrid system would utilize reclaimed water from the nearby wastewater treatment plant, thus avoiding the impacts a once-through cooling system would have on aquatic species in San Francisco Bay.
The recommendations are among the conclusions of the Energy Commission Final Staff Assessment released today. The document is available on the Energy Commission website at:

www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/potrero/documents/

The Final Staff Assessment is not a decision or proposed decision on the Potrero Project. It is the Energy Commission staff's analysis of the project. That analysis will become part of the evidentiary record, upon which the Potrero Project Siting Committee will base its proposed decision later in the process. Included in the Final Staff Assessment is a Local System Effects study the Energy Commission conducted in conjunction with the California Independent System Operator that evaluates the need for electricity from Potrero Unit 7. The proposed plant would improve the reliability of San Francisco's electrical grid and provide a significant source of power to support the system that now relies on old, unreliable and inefficient generation along with near-capacity transmission lines. Potrero Unit 7 would reduce the threat of blackouts in San Francisco and save electric ratepayers about $55 to $80 million from reduced transmission losses over the next 20 years.

Anyone with comments on the Local System Effects Study can submit them to the Energy Commission through February 27, 2002. Comments should be sent to:

The California Energy Commission
Docket Unit, MS-4 Attn:
Docket No. 00-AFC-4
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512

Mirant Potrero LLC, a direct subsidiary of Mirant, is proposing to build and operate the Potrero Power Plant Unit 7 alongside the existing 360-megawatt Potrero Power Plant. The new combined-cycle facility would consist of two combustion turbines with heat recovery steam generators and a steam turbine that would produce a total of 540 megawatts. Pollution controls would include Selective Catalytic Reduction systems to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and CO catalysts to control carbon monoxide emissions. The project also includes an underground transmission line to the Hunters Point substation.

The next step in the review process will be a pre-hearing conference to be scheduled in mid-March.

Public participation is an important part of the Energy Commission licensing process. For information on how to get involved in the project review, contact the Commission's Public Adviser, Roberta Mendonca, at (916) 654-4489, (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at
pao@energy.state.ca.us.

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