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For immediate release: April 24, 2003
Media Contact: Chris Davis - (916) 654-4989

SMUD Power Project Gets Backing of Energy Commission Staff

Sacramento - The staff of the California Energy Commission has completed its analysis of the SMUD Cosumnes Power Plant Project with the release today of the third part of the Final Staff Assessment. The report finds the 500-megawatt power plant can be licensed, if SMUD agrees to the staff's proposed conditions of certification and provides final details of the proposed plan to mitigate the facility's impacts on biological resources. Part three of the staff document analyzes those potential impacts as well as alternatives to the project. Part three completes the analysis begun in part one of the Final Staff Assessment released on February 11, 2003.

All three parts of the SMUD Cosumnes Power Plant Project Final Staff Assessment are now available on the Energy Commission website at:


The Final Staff Assessment is not a decision or proposed decision on the SMUD proposal. The three sections together represent the Energy Commission staff's testimony at Evidentiary Hearings held by the Committee of two Commissioners assigned to process the proposal through the Energy Commission review. The remaining Evidentiary Hearings, scheduled for May 12 and 13, 2003 at Hendrickson Hall in Herald, California, will continue to build the record begun at the Hearings held on March 13th and 14th. The Committee will also hear recommendations from the applicant, other government agencies, and interested parties before preparing a proposed decision on the project.

The Siting Committee will sponsor a Pre-hearing Conference to assess the readiness of all parties for the Evidentiary Hearings, to identify areas of agreement and dispute, and discuss procedures on:

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
10 a.m. - 12 noon
California Energy Commission
Hearing Room B
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, California
(Wheelchair Accessible)

People who cannot attend the hearing in person may still participate by calling the toll-free teleconference number: 1-888-788-1721. The passcode is "SMUD" and the leader is Garret Shean.

The Cosumnes Power Plant Project proposed by SMUD is a natural gas-fired, combined cycle facility, planned for construction in two phases. Each phase would consist of two combustion turbines, two heat recovery steam generators, and a condensing-steam turbine to produce 500 megawatts of electricity. The project site is on 30 acres, one-half mile south of the retired Rancho Seco power plant, 25 miles southeast of Sacramento. A new, 26-mile, natural gas pipeline would supply fuel to the facility.

SMUD is seeking a license for only the first phase of the project in this proceeding, with the goal of getting the 500-megawatt power plant on-line in 2005. If and when the SMUD Board of Directors decides to go ahead with phase two, the utility has agreed to use reclaimed water for cooling and will file a supplement to the Application for Certification to allow the Energy Commission staff to analyze the project's additional impacts.

Public participation is an important part of the Energy Commission power plant licensing process. To find out how to participate, contact the Commission's Public Adviser, Roberta Mendonca, at (916) 654-4489, toll-free at (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at:

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