For Immediate Release: April 11, 2012
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Approves
Watson Cogeneration Steam and Electric Reliability Project

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today approved the construction of the proposed Watson Cogeneration Steam and Electric Reliability Project in Carson.

By a 3-0 vote, the Energy Commission adopted the presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD) for the project.

"The expansion project will help improve the reliability of operations at the BP Carson Refinery," said Commissioner Carla Peterman, who is the presiding member for the committee reviewing the Watson project.

The PMPD said the 85-megawatt (MW) project, as mitigated, will have no significant impacts on the environment and complies with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards. The decision was based solely on evidence developed in evidentiary hearings during the facility's certification proceeding.

The project would increase and improve the reliability of the steam supply and electric power at the BP Carson Refinery. It plans to do so by increasing the capacity of the existing 385-MW Watson Cogeneration Facility by 85 MW with the addition of a combustion turbine generator. The applicant, Watson Cogeneration Company, is a joint partnership between subsidiaries of BP America and Edison Mission Energy.

The PMPD determined that the record, which contains a detailed environmental impact assessment required by the California Environmental Quality Act, was adequate. The record includes the Energy Commission staff's thorough and independent assessment of the project's potential impacts on the environment, public health, and safety.

The project site consists of 2.5 acres within the boundary of the existing Watson Cogeneration Facility, which is located in the city of Carson (Los Angeles County). The 21.7-acre facility supplies steam to and is integral to the adjacent BP Carson Refinery.

Construction would last 26 months. Eighty construction workers would be needed during peak construction in the 12th month. No additional full-time employees would be required when the project is operational, according to the applicant.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.