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For Immediate Release: April 16, 2008
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989

Review starts for Kings County Power Plant


Sacramento - The review clock for a proposed 600-megawatt power plant in Kings County started ticking today. By a vote of 5-0, the Energy Commission has determined that the Avenal Energy project is "data adequate," meaning the Commission has enough information to begin the 12-month licensing process for the combined-cycle natural gas-fired facility.

The Commission has named Commissioner Jeffrey Byron to head the committee that will ensure that the project meets the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld will serve as the Associate Member.

Project owner Avenal Power Center, LLC of Houston, Texas plans to develop the Avenal Energy Project on 25 acres of a 148-acre site zoned for industrial use just south of the Fresno County line and two miles east of Interstate 5. The proposed project is six miles from the City of Avenal's residential and commercial districts.

The plant would use a dry cooling process with a zero liquid discharge system to cut water use and avoid dumping waste water altogether. The City of Avenal would provide water to the proposed project from the city's water treatment plant adjacent to the site. Groundwater from three local wells would provide a back-up water source to the project via two separate pipelines.

If licensed by the Energy Commission, the $530-million power facility will begin construction in April 2010, with initial startup in October 2011 and full commercial operation by June 2012.

Throughout the project's 12-month licensing review, the Energy Commission will conduct public workshops and hearings in Kings County on the proposed plant to determine whether it should be certified for a license and under what set of conditions. More information on the Avenal Energy Project is available on the Energy Commission website at:

http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/avenal/index.html

Since deregulation occurred in 1998, the Energy Commission has licensed or given small power plant exemptions to 65 power plants, totaling 24,566 MW. Thirty-eight licensed power plants are in operation, producing 13,087 MW. Since Gov. Schwarzenegger took office, 20 of these power plants, totaling 7,530 MW have been approved. In addition, 20 power plant projects are active in the Energy Commission's review process, representing 8357 MW.

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