CEC to Reconsider San Francisco Electric Reliability Project

By Published On: December 1, 2006

The California Energy Commission will reconsider its October approval of the 145 MW San Francisco peaker Electric Reliability Project. The commission will hear petitions filed by Californians for Renewable Energy and a private party at its December 13 business meeting. The CEC agreed to reconsider the project at its November 29 business meeting on advice from Bill Chamberlain, its chief counsel. He said that granting reconsideration was necessary “to make all procedural objections moot.” The CEC, he noted, failed to notify all of the interested parties of its intention to consider the petitions, filed November 1, 10 days in advance of its meeting this week, as required by state law. A November 20 CEC staff response to the petitions claimed that they contained no new information and should be denied by the commission. Californians for Renewable Energy said that a last-minute design change in the project to add turbine chillers may affect emissions levels from the plant. The CEC did not analyze how the chillers would affect emissions, the group said. However, the CEC said that the chillers were in the initial project plan and their effects were covered by the agency’s air-quality analysis. Approval of the plant was contentious. Residents of the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood opposed the gas-fired peaker on environmental justice grounds, claiming that it would add pollution in an already polluted neighborhood. The city of San Francisco countered that building the plant in the Potrero district would allow the shutdown of an old, comparatively highly polluting plant operated by Mirant nearby (Circuit, Oct. 6, 2006). In other action, the CEC approved a $4.3 million contract with Edelman – a major public relations firm – to develop a marketing campaign for the state’s New Solar Homes Partnership. The partnership, part of the California Solar Initiative, will provide $400 million in incentives aimed at installing 400 MW of photovoltaic panels on new homes, said Valerie Hall, CEC deputy director for efficiency and renewables. Edelman will plan and carry out the three-year marketing campaign, beginning January 1. It is intended to build knowledge and enthusiasm among both home builders and buyers for participating in the program. – William J. Kelly

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