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For Immediate Release: July 2, 2007
Media Contact: Susanne Garfield-Jones - 916-654-4989

California Energy Commission Releases Staff Assessment for
Russell City Energy Center in Hayward

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission staff cannot recommend Russell City Energy Center (RCEC) in Hayward project approval at this time, according to a staff assessment released today.

The staff assessment cites a possible aviation safety hazard that could result from thermal plumes, or columns of warm air, rising from the plant's heat recovery steam generator stacks and cooling tower. The plumes would be within the Hayward Executive Airport approach zone.

The staff assessment is the second part of the staff assessment regarding the RCEC, which was originally certified by the Energy Commission on September 11, 2002. Without a power purchase agreement, construction was never initiated. Now project owners Calpine Corp. and GE Energy Financial Services have a power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Energy Commission staff is analyzing an amendment to move the proposed location for the 600-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle power plant from a 14.7-acre site on the southwest corner of Enterprise Avenue and Whitesell Street to 18.8 acres between Depot Road and Enterprise Avenue, about 1,300 feet from the original site. In moving the plant's location, an amendment to the project's application must be submitted to the Energy Commission, and environmental impacts must be reexamined.

While the staff assessment asserts that approving proposed changes to the existing conditions of certification will reduce the potential environmental impacts to less than significant levels, in the areas of land use and traffic and transportation, staff has found a potential aviation safety hazard. Due to the proposed change in power plant location, staff has proposed changes to the original conditions of certification in the areas of biological resources, hazardous materials management, noise and vibration, socioeconomic resources, soil and water resources, transmission line safety and nuisance, cultural resources, air quality, waste management, worker safety and fire protection, facility design, geology and paleontology, transmission system engineering, public health, and visual resources.

Staff will produce supplements to the land use and traffic and transportation sections that incorporate revisions based on the comments received. Staff anticipates filing this supplement on July 18, consistent with the Second Revised Committee Scheduling Order.

The Energy Commission's Siting Committee - Commissioner John Geesman, presiding member, and Commissioner Jeffrey Byron, associate member - will hold a prehearing conference and evidentiary hearing July 19 for the RCEC. The prehearing conference will begin at 4:30 p.m., and the evidentiary hearing will start at 6 p.m. Both will be held in Hayward City Hall, Conference Room 2A, 777 B Street, Hayward. More information on the RCEC is available on the Energy Commission's website: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/russellcity_amendment/index.html.

For information on how to participate in this proceeding, please contact the Public Adviser's Office at (916) 654-4489 or toll-free at (800) 822-6228, by FAX at (916) 654-4493, or by e-mail at pao@energy.state.ca.us. If you have a disability and require assistance to participate, please contact Lou Quiroz at (916) 654-5146 at least five days in advance. More information on the project is available on the Energy Commission's website: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/russellcity_amendment/index.html.

Since deregulation occurred in 1998, the Energy Commission has licensed or given small power plant exemptions to 63 power plants, totaling 23,549 MW. Thirty-eight licensed power plants are in operation, producing 12,910 MW. Since Gov. Schwarzenegger took office, 18 of these power plants, totaling 6,913 MW, have been approved. In addition, 14 power plant projects are active in the Energy Commission's review process, representing 5,741 MW. More information about Energy Commission power plant projects is available at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/all_projects.html

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