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For Immediate Release: August 24, 2007
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Releases
Presiding Member's Proposed Decision
for Power Plant in Hayward

Sacramento - The Presiding Member's Proposed Decision (PMPD) released today recommends that the California Energy Commission license the Russell City Energy Center if certain conditions are met. The proposed 600 megawatt (MW), 18.8-acre power plant site will be located in Hayward, if licensed.

The PMPD states that the plant site, located between Depot Road and Enterprise Avenue, is about 1.5 miles southwest of the Hayward Executive Airport, off the side of the airport's two parallel runways. Aircraft do not need to fly over the project site to load at or depart from the airport.

The licensing committee - composed of Commissioner John Geesman, presiding member, and Commissioner Jeffrey Byron, associate member - reviewed and approved the RCEC's amendment application to move the project site about 1,300 feet from its original location.

The PMPD's conclusion differs from the Energy Commission's staff assessment released July 2, which cited a possible aviation safety hazard. Staff raised concerns about thermal plumes, or columns of warm air, interfering with aircraft flying near the airport.

To remedy these concerns, the PMPD lists several conditions project owners Calpine Corp. and GE Energy Financial Services must follow to be licensed by the Energy Commission:

  • Have the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issue a "Notice to Airman" advising pilots not to fly over the power plant.

  • Request that the FAA revise any instrument approach that currently directs aircraft over the power plant.

  • Install air traffic hazard lighting at the top of each RCEC exhaust stack and non-elevated lights at each corner of the facility that would be visible to flying aircraft and would operate 24 hours a day.

  • Advise the Hayward Executive Airport ATC tower in writing at least 10 days in advance of the first test or commissioning procedure that would produce a thermal plume before generating electricity.

The RCEC was originally certified by the Energy Commission on Sept. 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.

A committee conference will be held Sept. 5 on the PMPD.

Wednesday, Sept. 5
Beginning at 6 p.m.
Hayward City Council Chambers
777 B Street
Hayward, CA 94541
Wheelchair accessible

The proposed decision is scheduled to go before the full Energy Commission for a final vote September 12. After the vote, the applicant will work to meet the conditions. More information on the Russell City Energy Center amendment 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-six 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, 18 power plant projects are active in the Energy Commission's review process, representing 6,654 MW. More information on Energy Commission power plant projects is available at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/all_projects.html.

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