November 5, 1999


Energy Commission Votes to Begin Otay Mesa Power Project Review Process

Sacramento — With a four-to-one vote, the California energy Commission has decided to begin reviewing plans for construction and operation of the Otay Mesa Power Plant Project, a 510-megawatt, natural gas-fired, combined-cycle plant located in western San Diego County.

If approved for construction and operation, the proposed Otay Mesa Power Plant would be located on a 15-acre site, approximately 15 miles southeast of San Diego and approximately 1.5 miles north of the United States-Mexico border.

Today's Commission vote marks the start of a 12-month review process which includes a comprehensive and objective analysis of all issues including (but not limited to) public health and safety, air quality, hazardous materials, environmental impacts and engineering design. Public input is a key element over the course of each phase of the Commission's scrutiny of power plant proposals.

The Energy Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to certify or deny certification for sites and related facilities for thermal power plants in California that generate 50 megawatts or more of electricity.

In its proposal, Otay Mesa requests approval for a new 230-kilovolt switchyard at the site and construction of a one-tenth-mile-long connection to San Diego Gas & Electric's (SDG&E's) existing 230-kilovolt Miguel-Tijuana transmission line that passes near the eastern boundary of the Otay Mesa site. As much as nine miles of this line may be modified to accommodate new wire electrical conductors on existing towers.

A new two-mile natural gas pipeline, which would connect to SDG&E's Pipeline 2000 when completed, would provide fuel for the project.

Otay Mesa proposes to use dry cooling technology. Process water for steam generation and potable water for domestic needs will be supplied by the Otay Mesa Water District via a two-tenths-of-a-mile-long pipeline connection. Wastewater from the plant would be transported to San Diego County's sewer system from the plant.

The applicant plans to obtain air quality emission offset from not only stationary sources but from a new program to develop mobile emission reduction credits, replacing diesel engines in truck with newly developed, less polluting engines. SCONOxTM technology has been proposed for NOx emission control.

In a related action, the Energy Commission designated Commissioner David A. Rohy as Presiding Member of the Otay Mesa Power Plant Siting Committee, with Commissioner Robert A. Laurie as Associate Member.

During the certification process, the Committee is responsible for overseeing all hearings and related proceedings on the proposed facilities. Once the review process is complete, the Committee will formulate formal recommendations on whether the plant's application for a license should be approved or denied. If the project is recommended for approval, the Committee is also responsible for determining what "conditions of certification" must be met by the project applicant to ensure the project will not impose a significant adverse impact on the environment.

If approved for construction and operation, Otay Mesa would start operation by the summer of 2002, employing approximately 20 full-time staff. During construction, the project would employ approximately 400 workers.

The Commission's Web Site provides additional information about the Otay Mesa proposal at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/otaymesa.

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