CEC Approves Peaker Plant in San Diego Area

By Published On: April 10, 2009

The Orange Grove AFC Power Plant, a 96 MW, project planned for northeastern San Diego County, won approval for licensing April 8 by the California Energy Commission. The peaking facility is meant for operation only in times of high electricity demand. It is to consist of a simple-cycle electric generating plant and related facilities on unincorporated land owned by San Diego Gas & Electric in rural San Diego County, about five miles east of Fallbrook. A subsidiary of J-Power USA Develop-ment proposed the simple-cycle generating plant in response to a call by SDG&E for new generating resources to support local reliability. “This project is a very key component to maintaining our resource adequacy as well as providing a means to replace older, less efficient facilities,” SDG&E senior energy administrator Steve Taylor said. The matter originally came before the commission in March, but failed to meet approval due to a number of issues that the applicant, Orange Grove was supposed to address, including a discrepancy on the plant’s water usage and questions about whether SDG&E would lease the plant site to the applicant. The issues were threshed out during a March 16 supplementary evidentiary hearing and under the plan Orange Grove will lease the land from the utility. Also approved during the commission’s April 8 meeting was a three-year, $1.79 million contract with the California Commissioning Collaborative to research market and technical barriers to improving energy efficiency in new buildings through wider use of building commissioning. Building commissioning is a strategy to combat energy waste by ensuring that building systems and operations and equipment operate as designed. The collaborative is a nonprofit organization consisting of utilities and state agencies whose purpose is to improve building and system performance by developing and promoting building commissioning practices. It also helps develop programs and infrastructure to enable building commissioning implementation. “Not only does it save a heck of a lot of money,” CEC commissioner Art Rosenfeld said of building commissioning, “My experience is that it makes buildings a lot more comfortable.” Additionally during the meeting, the commission approved a $1.82 million contract with L’Monte Information Services to develop a web-based platform and software tools for developing and updating building energy performance standards.

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