With two new transmission projects in San Francisco expected to be in service next month, the California Public Utilities Commission on March 15 approved shutting down Pacific Gas & Electric's Hunters Point power plant. The plant was built in the 1920s and has been the target of community groups because of its polluting emissions. However, the grid operator and the commission will not let it be shuttered until other methods of bringing power to the San Francisco Peninsula become available. The community "has been working at this for decades," San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom told commissioners. He said the most recent effort to get the power plant closed was bipartisan-giving kudos to California Energy Commission chair Joe Desmond, a Republican appointee. "PG&E is committed to the environment. Environmental justice is heartfelt," added PG&E vice-president of environmental affairs Bob Harris. The utility requested last month that the CPUC sign off on the final closure plans (Circuit, Feb. 24, 2006). Ten days after the Jefferson-Martin and Potrero transmission upgrades go on line, the plant can be shut down, according to CPUC Energy Division manager Sean Gallagher. In addition, the California Independent System Operator's reliability-must-run contracts may be terminated 10 days after those upgrades go on-line. The transmission upgrades are expected in mid-April. The 27-mile 230 kV Jefferson-Martin transmission line links substations in Redwood City and Brisbane. The 2.5-mile Potrero-Hunters Point Cable Project is a 115 kV all-underground line. After the plant is decommissioned, PG&E will have the facility demolished and the soil on the 33-acre site cleaned up to residential standards, according to the utility. Should PG&E sell the land, the City and County of San Francisco have a right of first refusal to purchase the site at the same price and terms as PG&E is willing to offer to a third party. "Next, we're going to have that Potrero Plant" shut down, declared San Francisco supervisor Sophie Maxwell. Potrero is owned by Mirant and is close to the Hunters Point facility.