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For immediate release: April 25, 2002
Media Contact: Chris Davis - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Staff Releases
Morro Bay Power Plant Analysis

Sacramento - In the third and final section of the Final Staff Assessment, California Energy Commission staff states that it cannot recommend approval of the Morro Bay Modernization and Replacement Project until the applicant provides a proposal for adequate mitigation of the aquatic biological resource impacts under California's Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The staff analysis has identified a closed cooling system as an alternative to the applicant's proposed once-through system to avoid the biological impacts. If the Regional Water Quality Control Board does not approve this alternative in their permit, other mitigation measures not yet proposed by the applicant may meet the CEQA requirements.

With today's release of the third section, all three parts of the staff's independent analysis of the project can be viewed on the Energy Commission website at:


Duke Energy, LLC filed an Application for Certification of the Morro Bay Modernization and Replacement Power Plant Project with the California Energy Commission on October 23, 2000. The plan would replace the four old units generating 1,002 megawatts at the current Morro Bay Power Plant with two, state-of-the-art, gas-fired, combined-cycle units that would produce a total of 1,200 megawatts. Each new unit will consist of two gas-fired turbines, two 145-foot tall stacks and one steam turbine. The four new stacks would be one-third as tall as the three existing stacks at the power plant.

The new combined-cycle units would utilize selective catalytic reduction to control emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and an oxidation catalyst to control carbon monoxide emissions into the air. The next step in the review process will be evidentiary hearings scheduled for June 4th through the 6th, with the 7th available if needed, that will incorporate the information included in the third part of the Final Staff Assessment of the Morro Bay Modernization and Replacement Project. The Energy Commission will release a notice with the time and place for the hearings at least 10 days in advance.

Public participation is an important part of the Energy Commission's power plant licensing process. People who are interested may get involved by contacting the Energy Commission's Public Adviser, Roberta Mendonca, at (916) 654-4489, toll free at (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at: pao@energy.state.ca.us.

More information on the Morro Bay Modernization and Replacement Project is available on the Energy Commission web site at:


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