February 23, 2001
Sempra Energy Resources, the independent power generation subsidiary of Sempra Energy, today officially announced plans to build a $350 million, 600-megawatt power plant near Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. The plant, known by its Spanish name, Termoeléctrica de Mexicali, will be connected to the U.S. electric grid via a new, 230,000-volt transmission line.
"Electricity from this new power plant can help alleviate California's energy crisis," said Donald E. Felsinger, group president of Sempra Energy. "Energy is the lifeblood of the California/Baja California region's economy. This power plant - along with our North Baja Pipeline - will help ensure that the border region has adequate infrastructure to meet its future energy needs."
The company decided to build the plant near Mexicali because of its proximity to a source of natural gas for fuel - the North Baja Pipeline, which begins construction this summer - and to the Southwest Powerlink, a high-voltage transmission line connecting California and Arizona.
"Termoeléctrica de Mexicali will be a clean, combined-cycle, gas-fired power plant designed to have a minimal impact on the environment," said Michael R. Niggli, president of Sempra Energy Resources. "We will build it to comply with the air-emissions standards of both California and Mexico, and use recycled water from a nearby treatment facility to conserve scarce fresh water resources."
To date, Sempra Energy Resources has secured environmental, land-use, water supply and right-of-way permits from Mexican authorities and is moving forward to acquire all remaining permits. The plant will have to obtain a permit to export electricity from the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission, and a presidential permit to import electricity from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The power plant is expected to begin operations in the summer of 2003, approximately one year after the North Baja Pipeline is due to begin delivering natural gas to the region. The North Baja Pipeline - a $230 million, 215-mile pipeline jointly being developed by Sempra Energy International, PG&E Corporation's National Energy Group, and Próxima Gas S.A. de C.V. of Mexico - will bring natural gas from the Arizona border to fuel businesses and new power plants being built in Baja California.