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For immediate release: November 20, 2002
Media Contact: Chris Davis - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Begins Six-Month Review of
Santa Clara Power Plant Proposal

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission voted today to begin a formal "fast track" review of the Pico Power Project. Commissioners voted to accept the project from the city of Santa Clara's municipal electric utility, Silicon Valley Power, as data adequate. The finding means the Energy Commission staff has enough information to begin analyzing the proposal under the rules of California's "fast track" six-month power plant review process.

Power project applications that propose measures to mitigate all apparent impacts to public health, the environment or the transmission system are eligible for the six-month review when the proposals have no issues that are expected to take longer than six months to resolve. The applicant must also provide the necessary information required for permits from local, regional, state and federal agencies that would have jurisdiction over the plant.

The Pico Power Project is planned to supply electricity to Silicon Valley Power's customers. If approved, the plant will provide approximately 25 percent of the district's generation. It will replace energy from an existing long-term contract that expires in 2005 and will help Silicon Valley Power meet expected load growth.

The site for the project is 2.86 acres west of the intersection of Lafayette Street and Duane Avenue and immediately north of Silicon Valley Power's Kifer Receiving Station in the city of Santa Clara.

Two combustion turbine generators burning natural gas make up the heart of the proposed combined-cycle facility. Heat recovery steam generators, a duct burner and a steam turbine generator will be included to generate a total of 122 megawatts, with the capacity to produce 147 megawatts at peak demand. Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) emissions will be controlled with selective catalytic reduction and water injection. An oxidation catalyst will reduce carbon monoxide emissions from the facility.

A 115-volt on-site switchyard will deliver the power directly to the Kifer Receiving Station next door and the Scott Receiving Station about a quarter of a mile away. Natural gas to fuel the generators will be delivered via a new, two-mile pipeline. Recycled wastewater to cool the power plant will come from the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control facility. The wastewater pipeline already runs to the proposed Pico Power Plant site.

The projected cost of the Pico Power Project is expected to be between $155 million and $165 million. Silicon Valley Power is targeting December of 2004 to have the new generation station in full operation.

Information about the Pico Power Project is available on the Energy Commission's website at:


The Committee that will oversee the Energy Commission review is made up of Commissioner John L. Geesman as Presiding Member and Commissioner Arthur H. Rosenfeld as Associate Member.

Members of the public, along with officials from other state, federal and local agencies that will be involved in the review, will have the opportunity to learn more about and comment on the project at an informational hearing and site tour sponsored by the Committee in the coming weeks.

Public involvement is a very important part of the Energy Commission's review process. To find out how to participate, call 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].

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