Order Denying Petition for Committee Workshop
[California Energy Commission Letterhead]


STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Energy Resources
Conservation and Development Commission



In the Matter of:                   )      Docket No. 01-AFC-24
                                    )      DATA ADEQUATE
Application for Certification       )      FEBRUARY 6, 2002
PALOMAR ENERGY PROJECT              )
BY SEMPRA ENERGY RESOURCES          )
____________________________________)

ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR
COMMITTEE WORKSHOP

Summary

Intervenor Bill Powers requests a Committee Workshop on the subject of alternative cooling options. The Intervenor's request is DENIED. We direct Staff to schedule discussion of alternative cooling options at a public workshop on the Preliminary Staff Assessment (PSA) and to include an analysis of alternative cooling technologies in the Final Staff Assessment (FSA).


Background and Discussion

On September 26, 2002, Mr. Powers filed a Petition for Committee Workshop on the Subject of Alternative Cooling Options ("Petition"). Applicant proposes to use reclaimed water for cooling. Mr. Powers believes dry cooling is the more appropriate alternative. In the PSA, Staff concluded that the use of reclaimed water would not result in significant adverse impacts and, therefore, Staff found it unnecessary to analyze the dry cooling option. The Petition requests that the Committee conduct a workshop on alternative cooling options.

The PSA was published on August 28, 2002. Staff is currently reviewing comments on the PSA. Prior to publication of the PSA, Mr. Powers requested that the Committee delay the PSA so Staff could review Mr. Powers' data on alternative cooling. The Committee denied that request and advised Mr. Powers to submit comments on the PSA and to participate at Staff workshops on the PSA. (See Order Denying Request to Delay Preliminary Staff Assessment.) In the instant Petition, Mr. Powers reiterates his concern that alternative cooling options have not been adequately addressed and seeks Committee guidance on how to proceed.

Both Applicant and Staff filed Responses to the Petition. (See, Applicant's Response to Petition from Bill Powers for Committee Workshop, dated October 2, 2002, and Commission Staff's Response to Petition for Committee Workshop on Alternative Cooling Options, dated October 3, 2002.) Applicant believes the Petition should be construed as comments on the PSA and that Staff should consider the comments in preparing the FSA. Applicant does not object to Mr. Powers' filing additional comments on alternative cooling in the context of Staff's review and preparation of the FSA. Applicant, however, reserves the right to file responsive comments as necessary.

Staff would also construe the Petition as PSA comments and proposes that the issues raised by Mr. Powers can be discussed at the upcoming PSA workshop to be scheduled in the next few weeks.

As an Intervenor, Mr. Powers has the right to comment on the PSA and to provide evidence in support of his position at the Committee's evidentiary hearings. The PSA is Staff's initial review of the project. It would be premature at this time for the Committee to consider the relative merits of the parties' positions on cooling options. We therefore construe the Petition as the Intervenor's comments on the PSA. As such, Mr. Powers shall have the opportunity to present his views on the project's cooling options at public workshop(s) to be scheduled by Staff during the PSA comment period. We direct Staff to include discussion of cooling options at the next PSA workshop and to analyze the feasibility of dry cooling in the FSA. Applicant shall provide information on the advantages and disadvantages of dry cooling for this project.

During evidentiary hearings, Mr. Powers will have the opportunity to present witnesses, submit documentary evidence, and cross-examine other parties' witnesses. The standard of review on the topic of alternative cooling is whether use of reclaimed water will result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated.


ORDER

Intervenor Bill Powers' Petition for Committee Workshop on the Subject of Alternative Cooling Options is DENIED. Staff is directed to schedule discussion of alternative cooling options at the next public workshop on the PSA and to include an analysis of alternative cooling options in the FSA. Applicant shall submit information on the advantages and disadvantages of dry cooling for this project.


Dated October 7, 2002, at Sacramento, California.



JOHN L. GEESMAN, Commissioner
Presiding Member
Palomar AFC Committee




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