For Immediate Release: March 28, 2012
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989
SACRAMENTO - A California Energy Commission siting committee is recommending for the second time the approval of the proposed Carlsbad Energy Center Project in northern San Diego County.
In the revised presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD) released today, the committee said the 558-megawatt facility, as mitigated, will have no significant impacts on the environment and complies with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards (LORS) except in the area of land use. The committee also determined that the project's benefits outweigh the land use impacts and lack of compliance with recently amended Carlsbad land use regulations. The committee recommends that the Commission make override findings and approve the project in spite of the impacts and LORS inconsistencies.
The revised proposed decision was based solely on the record of facts which were established during the facility's certification proceeding.
The revised PMPD is not a final decision on the project. The committee released the document for 30 days of public comment. The committee will consider input before bringing the revised proposed decision to the full Commission for action. The entire document can be found at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/carlsbad/documents/index.html
The revised PMPD determined that the record, which contains a detailed environmental impact assessment required by the California Environmental Quality Act, was adequate. The record includes the Commission staff's independent assessment of the project's potential impacts on the environment, public health, and safety.
The Carlsbad Energy Center Project is a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle facility being proposed by Carlsbad Energy Center LLC, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. The project is scheduled to be built on a 23-acre portion of the existing Encina Power Station in Carlsbad. The applicant will retire the existing steam boiler Units 1, 2 and 3 at the Encina Power Station when the Carlsbad Energy Center Project is operational.
The original PMPD, which was released in May 2011, had recommended licensing the construction of the Carlsbad Energy Center Project. In June 2011, the full Commission had voted to reopen the official record for the project and hear new evidence on several issues.
The committee took additional evidence at a December 2011 evidentiary hearing on the following topics: the impact of three projects proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric on cumulative impacts and alternatives analysis; grid reliability issues raised by the California Independent System Operator; the Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit needed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the project's ability to meet federal clean-air standards; financial concerns raised by the applicant about two land use conditions in the PMPD that lay out the process to plan, permit, and pay for the removal of the Encina Power Station when it is no longer needed; and recent land use amendments made by the city of Carlsbad.
The estimated capital cost for the Carlsbad Energy Center Project would exceed $500 million. If the project is approved, construction would last 25 months. The project would require a peak of 357 construction workers during the 19th month. No new operational employees would be added because the 14 workers needed would be transferred from the planned shutdown of Units 1, 2, and 3 at the Encina Power Station, according to the applicant.
The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies