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For Immediate Release: November 30, 2007
Media Contact: Percy D. Della - 916-654-4989

Final staff assessment released for
proposed power plant in Colusa County


A California Energy Commission final staff assessment (FSA) recommends licensing a proposed 660-megawatt, natural-gas fired power plant in Colusa County if certain conditions are met.

Before the staff can recommend licensing the Colusa Generating Station, the FSA said the plant owner, Colusa County and the fire protection district with jurisdiction over the project site must resolve three issues in two technical areas. These involve worker safety and fire protection, as well as the handling of hazardous materials.

The FSA said the plant complies with all applicable laws, ordinances and regulations and its construction and operations impacts can be mitigated to a "level less than significant" if these conditions are met.

The FSA said the all-volunteer Maxwell Fire Protection District "continues to have concerns" over its ability to respond to an emergency at the facility if it is built. Apprehension over a hazardous materials accident at the plant was also identified in the assessment. The PSA points to the fire districtÕs lack of "properly trained" staff that would serve as the first "off-site" responder in case of a hazardous material emergency at the facility.

As a condition of certification, staff has recommended that adequate funding be provided to the fire district so it can adequately serve the local community and the proposed facility.

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

Commissioner John Geesman 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 Colusa Generating Station would be situated on a 31-acre portion of a 100-acre parcel of the Holthouse Ranch property, about 14 miles north of Williams in Colusa County. If it receives a license from the Energy Commission, project construction is scheduled to occur over 24 months, beginning in early 2008. The proposed power plant, which has been designed as a turnkey facility to be transferred to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, would begin generating electricity by the spring of 2010. The construction cost is estimated between $450 million and $500 million. The FSA for the Colusa Generating Station is available on the Energy Commission's website:

www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/colusa/

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 19 power plant projects are active in the Energy Commission's review process, representing 7, 671 MW. More information about Energy Commission power plant projects is available at:

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

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