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For Immediate Release: October 21, 2005
Media Contact: Mary Ann Costamagna - 916-654-4989

Blythe Energy Project, Phase II Recommended for
Energy Commission Approval

Sacramento - The Blythe Energy Project, Phase II Energy (BEP II) Commission Siting Committee has recommended approval of the proposed 520-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle facility in Blythe, Riverside County.

The Committee's recommendation, contained within the Presiding Member's Proposed Decision, comes with a series of conditions to mitigate potential environmental and community impacts and to ensure compliance with all laws, ordinances, regulations and standards required for power plant licensing in California

The Presiding Member's Proposed Decision for the Blythe Energy Project Phase II is located on the Energy Commission website at:

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

The Proposed Decision is not final until the full Energy Commission takes a vote on the recommendation at its December 14th, 2005 Business Meeting.

The Blythe Energy Project, Phase II Siting Committee is comprised of two California Energy Commissioners, Presiding Member John L. Geesman and Associate Member Arthur H. Rosenfeld.

As proposed, the Blythe II project would be a natural gas-fired generation station, on a site a adjacent to the Blythe Energy Project, Phase I. While Blythe I is owned by Florida Power and Light, Blythe II has been proposed by a separate company, Caithness Blythe II, LLC. The two power plants will share some facilities, such as control, administration and maintenance buildings, a surface-water-run-off-retention basin and access road. If approved by the Energy Commission, the new project is expected to cost $250 million and take 20 months to construct.

The proposed decision specifies five areas in the terms of conditions that the project will need to address issues identified during Committee's evidentiary hearings. These include;

  • Water Resources: The project will use 3,300 acre-feet of agriculturally contaminated groundwater annually and implement a voluntary Water Conservation Offset program designed to conserve an equivalent amount of fresh Colorado River water.

  • Traffic and Transportation: The project will use pilot notification and avoidance measures to minimize the impacts thermal plumes from the cooling tower and stacks could have on aircraft taking off and landing at the nearby Blythe Airport.

  • Land Use: The City of Blythe found the project in the public interest and adopted a resolution placing conditions on the project. This resolution overruled a Riverside County Airport Land Use Commission determination that the project would be inconsistent with the Blythe Airport Comprehensive Land Use Plan

  • Biology: The project will use a zero liquid discharge process to avoid hazards to migratory birds and wildlife posed by evaporation ponds.

  • Socioeconomics: The project will fund a Farming Sector Retraining Plan to address the effects of the Water Conservation Offset program on local farm-related businesses and farm workers.

The Blythe Energy Project II Siting Committee has scheduled a conference on the Proposed Decision as follows:

Thursday, November 10, 2005
Beginning at 2 p.m.
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Teleconference (800) 988-9454 Passcode "Blythe"
(Wheelchair Accessible)

Public participation is an important part of the Energy Commission's power plant licensing process. To find out how to participate in this case, contact the Energy Commission's Public Adviser, Margret J. Kim at (916) 654-4489, (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at: pao@energy.state.ca.us

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