Tesla Not Allowed to Pass Go, Kings River Gets Staff Backing

By Published On: March 13, 2004

The Tesla power project received a mixed review in a proposed California Energy Commission decision. The 1,120 MW project pitched by a subsidiary of Florida Power & Light Group/FPL Energy continues to be bogged down by concerns about the air- and water-quality impacts of the freshwater-cooled facility. The plant would be built on an undeveloped parcel in eastern Alameda County near the San Joaquin County border. Because of air-quality problems in San Joaquin and the expectation that air pollution from the project will affect that region, the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District intervened and insisted on mitigation measures to counteract emissions. FPL agreed to pay the district $958,000 for air-quality enhancement programs, but because the deal did not involve a reduction of specified pollutants, the CEC presiding member?s decision concluded that the air-quality information was deficient. The tentative decision agreed with CEC staff that wastewater should be used to cool the plant; otherwise the facility should use dry cooling technology. ?Not withstanding the higher capital investment and potential reduced efficiency, the record at this juncture does not provide evidence on whether installation of dry cooling would be an ?economically unsound? investment over the life? of the project, the decision states. FPL would also be required to pay $500,000 to the Alameda County Fire Department in case of an accident at the plant. A few days later, the CEC staff recommended that the Kings River Conservation District peaker be exempt from the certification process and allowed to go forward. The 97 MW project would be sited in an unincorporated area of Fresno County and is not expected to produce any significant environmental impacts. The project?s two turbines would come from Williams Marketing & Trading and were sent to the district as part of a settlement between the company and the state. The output of the peaker would be sold to the Department of Water Resources under a 10-year deal.

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