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For Immediate Release: October 10, 2007
Media Contact: Percy D. Della - 916-654-4989

Final staff assessment released for planned
peaker power plant in Fresno County


Sacramento - A California Energy Commission final staff assessment (FSA) released today recommends licensing the proposed Starwood Power Project in Fresno County.

The FSA said the applicant, Starwoood Midway, LLC of Greenwich, Conn., is completing the final components of an emission reduction package to lessen air quality impacts from the 120-MW peaker power plant prior to construction if it is licensed.

Nearly all the emission reduction credits have been obtained, with a small credit increment for volatile organic compounds still in progress with the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Management District.

Otherwise, the FSA concludes that the project conforms with all applicable laws, ordinances and regulations and its "construction and operation impacts can be mitigated to a level less than significant."

The FSA is not a decision or proposed decision on the Starwood Power Project. It represents the staff's independent analysis on the proposed plant's potential impacts on the environment, public health and safety, transmission system and other areas of concern.

The analysis is considered 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 Commissioner John Geesman is the associate member.

The committee will then issue a proposed decision based on evidence presented at the hearings. The proposed decision will be presented to the full Energy Commission for a final decision. The proposed $85-million plant will be built on a 5.6-acre site within a 128-acre parcel located in the vicinity of Mendota, about 50 miles west of Fresno.

The site is adjacent to several existing energy facilities, the Calpeak Panoche and Wellhead Energy peaking power plants, and Pacific Gas and Electric's Panoche tranmission substation. The 400-MW Panoche Energy Center, also has been proposed for a site adjacent to the planned Starwood Power Project and is undergoing a separate Energy Commission licensing review.

The proposed simple-cycle natural gas-fueled power plant is designed as a peaking facility to provide electricity during periods of high demand. The plant includes two combustion turbine generators. Electricity generated from the facility would meet the requirements of a 15-year power purchase contract with PG&E.

Assuming the Starwood Power Project receives a license from the Energy Commission by January 2008, construction of the project would begin in June 2008. The power plant could begin generating electricity by May 2009. The FSA for the Starwood Power Project is available on the Energy Commission's website: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/starwood/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 projects are active in the Energy Commission's review process, representing 6,994 MW. More information on the Energy Commission power plant projects is available at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/all_projects.html.

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