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For immediate release: November 17, 2003
Media Contact: Chris Davis - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Releases Preliminary Staff Assessment of
Blythe II Power Plant Proposal


Sacramento - The Preliminary Staff Assessment released today by the California Energy Commission notes that the project as currently described would not comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and standards. The Energy Commission staff has identified 35 separate items of information needed in nine technical areas, along with project changes, before it can recommend the project be approved.

The Preliminary Staff Assessment for the Blythe Energy Project Phase II is available on the Energy Commission website at:

www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/blythe2/documents

The Blythe Energy Project Phase II, proposed by Caithness Blythe II, LLC, is a 520-megawatt, natural gas-fired, combined-cycle power plant. The proposed plant would be adjacent to the Blythe I facility that began producing electricity this past summer. The Phase II project may use some of the facilities constructed for the first phase, such as the Control/Administration and Maintenance Buildings. Other facilities in use by Blythe Phase I, such as the groundwater supply, water treatment systems and natural gas supply pipeline, are proposed for expansion to serve Phase II.

Some of the more important areas in which the Energy Commission staff is requesting additional information include the project's impacts on: air quality, water supply, airport safety, the transmission system to which the plant would connect, and details on land to be fallowed as part of a water conservation plan.

The Preliminary Staff Assessment found that using groundwater, which is considered to be Colorado River water, would cause significant impacts to the water supply and its users, unless the applicant can produce requested data that proves otherwise. The Energy Commission has also recently formally adopted a policy that recognizes the importance of conserving California's water supply. The staff therefore recommends the use of dry cooling instead of groundwater to cool the plant.

The Energy Commission staff must also receive transmission system interconnection studies from the affected electric transmission utilities and a final plan describing how the project will interconnect with the exsisting transmission system.

The Preliminary Staff Assessment is not a decision or proposed decision on the Blythe Energy Project Phase II. When requested information is received from the applicant, and all comments from the public and other government agencies involved in the project review are considered, a Final Staff Assessment will be completed.

Comments must be addressed to:

Blythe Energy Project, Phase II
Attn: Bill Pfanner
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-15
Sacramento, CA 95814
- or by e-mail -
bpfanner @ energy.state.ca.us

Public input is an important part of the Energy Commission's power plant licensing process. For more information on how to submit comments and get involved, contact the Commission's Public Adviser, Margret J. Kim, toll free at (800) 822-6228 or by e-mail at: pao @ energy.state.ca.us

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