Environmental organizations, pushing against the tide of more fossil-fueled power projects in California, are up in arms about a last-minute delay in a regulatory vote on new gas power projects in San Diego. They claim they are not needed, that they conflict with the state\u2019s clean energy targets and are overpriced. California Public Utilities Commission president Mike Peevey Feb. 28 pulled from the CPUC business meeting agenda a vote on whether to approve San Diego Gas & Electric\u2019s contract with developers of the 305 MW Pio Pico and 100 MW Quail Brush projects in San Diego. Postponing a vote to March 21 gives the parties more time to \u201creconcile differences and perhaps extend the startup dates of the projects,\u201d Peevey asserted at the start of last Thursday\u2019s meeting in San Francisco. \u201cNo one contacted us about working out anything,\u201d Shana Lazerow, the attorney representing the California Environmental Justice Alliance, told Current. The record on the gas project contracts pending before the commission was closed, she added. The coalition includes more than two dozen organizations. Regulators\u2019 March 21 business meeting, expected to be \u201cspirited\u201d according to Peevey, is in San Diego, an atypical venue for the CPUC meeting. SDG&E and the grid operator say the Pio Pico and Quail Brush projects are needed to fill in local generation needs in the San Diego region, particularly given the ongoing outage of the 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Earlier scheduled CPUC votes on the proposed San Diego deals also were delayed, including at the commission\u2019s final meeting of 2012 (Current. Dec. 21, 2012). In mid-February, the environmental coalition met with all five commissioners and their advisors, according to a Feb 11 ex parte filing. They pleaded for a scaled down fossil-fueled power policy and increased recognition of the state\u2019s loading order, which gives top billing to energy efficiency, renewables and demand response. They complain that the California Independent System Operator and CPUC virtually ignore efficiency and programs that shift energy use away from times of high demand, although billions of dollars have been invested to promote energy savings and avoid building gas-fired peaking power plants. In addition, in early February, the California Environmental Justice Alliance and the Sierra Club urged the governor to thwart 2,000 MW of planned new gas-fired generation, including 1,000 MW in Southern California. The opposition includes continued protests over the building of Pacific Gas & Electric\u2019s controversial 586 MW Oakley project. A rehearing on the approval of the $1.5 billion Oakley project is pending at the commission. In a joint Feb. 5 letter, the coalition asked Gov. Jerry Brown to stop the CPUC \u201cfrom taking a major step in the wrong direction by approving nearly 2,000 MW of new, expensive, dirty and unnecessary gas-fired power plants.,\u201d This fossil generation on the table, they stated, \u201cwill impede California\u2019s efforts to mitigate climate change, choke the state\u2019s progress toward renewable energy and your goal of 12,000 MW of distributed generation, and encumber the democratic progress toward Community Choice Aggregation.\u201d The coalition has not received a reply from Brown\u2019s office, nor do they expect one. \u201cThe goal is not to get the governor to take a public stand but to ensure the people he appoints advance his pro-environment, pro [energy] transition and pro green jobs strategy,\u201d said Lazerow. Requests from the governor\u2019s office for comments were not returned. The San Diego gas plant contracts on the CPUC agenda next week are given the thumbs down by commission member Mark Ferron. In a revised proposal released before the Feb. 28 meeting, he stated \u201cit would not be reasonable to pay for that excess capacity for four of the 20-year terms of the [agreements] associated with Pio Pico Energy Center and Quail Brush Energy Project. He added that no additional generation in the region is needed before 2018. That is the year the large Encina seawater-cooled power plant in Carlsbad is expected to be retired. Last May, the California Energy Commission approved a permit to replace the old plant with a new 586 MW plant. PG&E\u2019s Oakley plant has been batted back and forth at the commission and in the courts. The commission first denied the deal in 2010 and then that same year changed its mind after PG&E told regulators it planned to delay the startup date. A court set aside that decision after consumer advocate, The Utility Reform Network, alleged it was improper. PG&E again sought approval on grounds that there is a supply \u201cneed\u201d for the plant.