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For immediate release: April 30, 2003
Media Contact: Chris Davis - (916) 654-4989

Energy Commission Committee Recommends
Licensing Morro Bay Power Plant Proposal

Sacramento - The Presiding Members Proposed Decision released today recommends that the Energy Commission license the Morro Bay Modernization and Replacement Power Plant Project and explains how the facility could comply with all laws, ordinances, regulations and standards.

One of the most controversial aspects of the case was the choice of cooling system for the modernization project. The proposed decision recommends continuing the use of once-through cooling, combined with a habitat enhancement plan to protect the Morro Bay Estuary. Based on the evidence presented in the case, dry cooling was found to be not feasible at the site and would not provide the benefits to the estuary of a habitat enhancement plan. Both the habitat enhancement plan submitted by the applicant and the one submitted by the staff of the regional water quality control board would slow the sedimentation that is contributing to the estuary's rapid decline.

Duke Energy, LLC, is requesting a license to build and operate the Morro Bay Modernization and Replacement Power Plant Project. The proposal includes plans to tear down the existing tank farm north of the current power plant to build two new, combined-cycle, natural gas-fired generating units that would produce a total of 1,200 megawatts. The existing Morro Bay power plant, which produces 1,002 megawatts, would be torn down following the new facility construction. There will be a net increase of approximately 200 megawatts.

Each new unit would consist of two gas-fired turbines, a heat-recovery steam generator with duct firing and a steam turbine. The new units would require approximately 30 percent less gas than the old units to produce each megawatt of electricity and use state-of-the-art technology to produce far fewer air emissions per megawatt than the old plant. The new power plant will have less visual impact for most viewers than the current facility, in part because the site was relocated, and in part because four 145-foot-tall stacks would replace the existing three stacks that are 450-feet-tall.

The proposed decision can be viewed and printed from the Energy Commission's website at:


The Presiding Member's Proposed Decision is not the final decision on the Morro Bay Power Plant Project. It is the recommendation of the Siting Committee assigned to process the proposal through the Energy Commission's review process. The proposed decision will be available for a review and comment period which closes on June 13, 2003. Anyone wishing to submit written comments should address them to:

California Energy Commission
Docket Unit, MS-4
Attn: Docket No. 00-AFC-12
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512

The Morro Bay Modernization and Replacement Power Plant Project Siting Committee, comprised of Energy Commission Chairman William J. Keese as Presiding Member and Energy Commissioner James D. Boyd as Associate Member, will hold a public conference to receive comments on the proposed decision on:

Monday, June 30, 2003
Beginning in the afternoon
Veteran's Memorial
209 Surf Street
Morro Bay, California
(Wheelchair Accessible)

The final vote on the project by the full Commission is expected in Fall 2003 after the regional water quality control board acts on the water intake and waste permit in late October.

Public Participation is an important part of the Energy Commission power plant licensing process. To find out how to get involved, contact Roberta Mendonca, the Energy Commission's Public Adviser, toll free at (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at: pao@energy.state.ca.us

News media inquiries should be directed to Chris Davis at (916) 654-4989 or e-mail at: cmdavis@energy.state.ca.gov

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