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For Immediate Release: November 14, 2007
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission releases Presiding Member's
Proposed Decision on power plant in Western Fresno County


Sacramento - A document released today by the California Energy Commission recommends approval of a proposed power plant in Western Fresno County, if certain conditions are met.

The Presiding Member's Proposed Decision (PMPD) on the Panoche Energy Center to be fired up only in times of high electricity demand recommended approval of the facility. But the PMPD said the 400-megawatt plant would be required to meet applicable air quality, noise, traffic and building code requirements.

The Energy Commission licensing committeeĞ composed of Commissioner Jeffrey Byron and Vice Chair James D. Boyd also outlined several recommendations that would reduce the project's potential environmental impacts and make it comply with applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and standards. These include:

  • Providing emission reduction credits to offset the air pollutants the project will emit, and
  • Providing $1.5 million to fund the Westlands Water District's Expanded Irrigation System Improvement Program that provides low interest loans for the use of new irrigation techniques. The loans help farmers in the lease-purchase and installation of sprinklers, micro-irrigation, and tailwater reuse systems.

The Committee will review the recommendations after a 30-day comment period. The proposed decision is scheduled to go before the full Energy Commission for a final vote on December 19.

The Panoche Energy Center will be located on a 12.8-acre site within a 128-acre parcel southwest of Mendota. It will include four natural gas-fired combustion turbine generators.

If approved by the Energy Commission, construction of the single-cycle facility 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 PMPD for the Panoche Energy Center is available on the Energy Commission's website:

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

Since deregulation occurred in 1998, the Energy Commission has licensed or given small power plant exemptions to 63 power plants, totaling 23,546 MW. Forty licensed power plants are in operation, producing 13,087 MW. Since Governor 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 7329 MW. More information about Energy Commission power plant projects is available at:

www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/all_projects.html

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