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For Immediate Release: September 17, 2007
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Releases Final Assessment
of Panoche Energy Center

Sacramento -- A California Energy Commission final staff assessment (FSA) released today recommends against licensing the Panoche Energy Center power plant unless another water source is found.

As proposed, the project would use fresh water from two groundwater wells drilled onsite into the Westside Sub-Basin of the San Joaquin Valley Groundwater Basin.

The Energy Commission will only approve the use of fresh water for cooling by power plants that it licenses where alternative water sources and alternative cooling technologies are shown to be "environmentally undesirable" or "economically unsound."

Project applicant Panoche Energy Center, LLC, has not agreed to implement any avoidance or minimization alternatives.

The FSA will serve as staff's testimony at evidentiary hearings to be held by the committee of two Commissioners reviewing this case.

Commissioner Jeffrey Byron is the committee's presiding member, and Vice Chair James Boyd is the associate member.

The committee will then issue a proposed decision based on the evidence at the hearings. The proposed decision will be presented to the full Energy Commission for a final decision.

The Panoche Energy Center is a proposed 400 megawatt (MW), simple-cycle generating facility located on a 12.8-acre site within a 128-acre parcel about 12 miles southwest of Mendota in western Fresno County.

The project will include four natural gas-fired combustion turbine generators.

If approved by the Energy Commission, construction of the Panoche Energy Center is expected to begin in January 2008. Construction would continue through January 2009, and the expected on-line date is August 2009. The total cost of power plant is expected to be more than $300 million.

The FSA for the Panoche Energy Center is available on the Energy Commission's website:


Since the electricitty industry 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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