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For immediate release: December 18, 2002
Media Contact: Chris Davis - 916-654-4989

Turlock Power Plant Proposal
Begins Energy Commission Review

Sacramento - The Turlock Irrigation District proposal to build the 250-megawatt Walnut Energy Center is under review by the California Energy Commission as of today.

Commissioners voted at today's business meeting to accept the proposal as data adequate, which means the Energy Commission staff has enough information to evaluate the plans under its 12-month process and ensure the proposal would result in a safe and reliable plant with no unmitigated impacts to public health and the environment.

The Turlock Irrigation District is planning the Walnut Energy Center to:

  • meet the district's growing electrical load,

  • replace long-term power purchase agreements as they expire,

  • help the state build more local generation projects to promote reliability and stability of the electrical grid,

  • serve the customers of the 200-square mile PG&E service territory that the district is asking the Public Utilities Commission for permission to acquire,

  • begin operation in 2006.

If approved and built, the 250-megawatt Walnut Energy Center will be powered by two combustion-turbine generators burning natural gas, teamed with heat-recovery steam generators feeding a condensing steam turbine. The location of the $120-million to $220-million project is an 18 acre parcel on the southwestern edge of Turlock, 2.7-miles west of Highway 99, south of West Main Avenue off of Washington Road.

The plans call for the plant, scheduled to go on-line in 2006, to be cooled by recycled water from the city of Turlock's Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant when it becomes available two to three months later. A new 1.6-mile pipeline will deliver the water.

Other project components include a 115-kilovolt and 69-kilovolt switchyard with 1,950 feet of 115-kilovolt transmission line and 670 feet of 69-kilovolt transmission line. Approximately 3.6 miles of new natural gas pipeline will also be required.

More information is available about the Walnut Energy Center project on the California Energy Commission website at:


The Committee that will oversee the application through the Energy Commission review process is made up of Commissioner James D. Boyd as Presiding Member and Commissioner Arthur H. Rosenfeld as Associate Member.

The Committee will sponsor an informational hearing and site visit in the coming weeks. 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 the project and comment on it. The Energy Commission will release a notice in advance with the place, date and time of the hearing and site visit.

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

Note to Editors: The Energy Commission offers an automated mail list that e-mails news releases and the notices related to power plant siting cases to reporters and others interested in the projects. Information is available on the Energy Commission's home page, in the left hand column, by clicking on the words list servers at: www.energy.ca.gov

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