CEC recommends licensing of proposed gas-fired Pio Pico Energy Center

Source: California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission staff has released its final analysis recommending the licensing of the proposed Pio Pico Energy Center.

In the final staff assessment (FSA), Commission staff concluded that with the implementation of staff's recommended mitigation measures described in the conditions of certification, the proposed 300-megawatt peaker power plant would comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards (LORS).

Pio Pico Energy Center, LLC, is the applicant for the project, which is a natural gas-fired, simple-cycle electrical generating facility. The proposed project site is located at the intersection of Alta Road and Calzada de la Fuente in an unincorporated area of southwestern San Diego County. The 10-acre site is next to the Otay Mesa Generating Project.

The applicant plans to use recycled water for the project when the water becomes available. The project site is next to an existing electrical substation so only minimal upgrades will be required to interconnect the power plant to the transmission grid. Using an industrial site will minimize and avoid the environmental impacts that would have occurred if the project was developed on undisturbed land, according to the FSA. 

The FSA is not a committee document or a proposed decision on the project. The document represents the Commission staff's independent assessment of the project's potential impacts on the environment, public health and safety, and compliance with all LORS. The FSA provides the detailed environmental impact assessment required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

The document will serve as Commission staff's testimony at evidentiary hearings that the committee of two commissioners reviewing the proposed project will hold. The committee will issue a proposed decision based on evidence presented at the hearings. The proposed decision will be presented to the full Commission for a final decision on the proposed project.

The capital cost for the Pio Pico project is estimated to be $300 million. If the Commission approves the project, construction would last 16 months with the work starting February 2013 and commercial operation by May 2014. The project would require an average of 148 workers during construction, with a peak of 284 needed during the eighth month. Twelve employees would be needed when the project is operating, according to the applicant. 

The FSA is available here: Pio Pico Energy Center Final Staff Assessment

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