For Immediate Release: August 18, 2008
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989

Proposed Decision released for Humboldt Bay Repowering Project

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission committee reviewing the proposed Humboldt Bay Repowering Project south of Eureka has recommended the approval of the 163-megawatt power plant.

In its presiding member's proposed decision, (PMPD), the committee said that the project meets all the requirements of the North Coast Air Quality Management District. The document also said that the plant owner, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, has identified all required emission reduction credits to operate the plant.

The PMPD from Commissioner Jeffrey Byron, who heads the committee, is NOT a final decision on the project. The document will now be subject to 30 days of public comments, after which the committee would consider input and then hold a public conference on September 16, 2008 in Sacramento.

The Committee intends to send the PMPD to the full Energy Commission for a final vote on September 24, 2008.

The PMPD said PG&E has proposed mitigation measures that, along with Energy Commission requirements, would reduce health risks to insignificant levels during the limited time the plant would burn diesel fuel instead of natural gas to produce electricity.

The plant will rely on diesel when the natural gas supply for power generation is curtailed on occasion during winter in Humboldt County to maintain adequate supply to residents and businesses.

The mitigation measures contained in the PMPD include raising the plant's exhaust stacks from 75 feet to 100 feet to improve air dispersion; and limitations on operating all 10 of the plant's 16.3-MW reciprocating engine-generator sets for a maximum 510 hours combined a year instead of 1,000 hours when the plant burns diesel fuel. Limited additional hours of diesel operation would be allowed the first year during plant testing.

The PMPD states that Energy Commission staff would require PG&E to update its Health Risk Assessment based on data gathered from periodic emission tests to make sure the plant does not pose a cancer risk to the public associated with diesel fuel usage.

The Humboldt Bay Repowering Project is about three miles south of the city of Eureka, on 5.4 acres within a 143-acre parcel currently occupied by the existing PG&E Humboldt Bay Power Plant. When the nuclear Unit 3 was operating prior to its shutdown in 1976, it was California's first and only power plant that combined natural gas or fuel oil-fired conventional and nuclear-fueled steam turbine-generator technologies.

The nuclear portion of the facility is undergoing decommissioning. The project will replace the existing Units 1 and 2 (105-MW combined) and the two 15-MW Mobile Emergency Power Plants at PG&E's Humboldt Bay Power Plant site with ten 16.3-megawatt reciprocating engines.

More information on the PMPD for the Humboldt Repowering Project is available at:

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