For immediate release: October 6, 1999
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989



Energy Commission Approves Kern County Power Plant

Sacramento -- In a unanimous vote, the five-member California Energy Commission today gave the La Paloma Generating Project final approval for construction and operation in Kern County.

The 1048-megawatt merchant power plant, which will be located near the town of McKittrick, becomes the third and largest in a new generation of cleaner, more efficient, high-technology California power projects approved for licensing following the restructuring of the state's electricity industry.

On July 20, 1999, the Energy Commission's La Paloma Generating Project Committee, comprised of Commissioners Robert A. Laurie, Presiding Member, and David A. Rohy, Ph.D., Associate Member, recommended the La Paloma Generating Project for full-Commission approval.

The Committee's "green light" on the La Paloma Project came after a rigorous, year-long review process in which the Commission actively sought out public input on the proposal.

In its recommendation for approval, the Committee reviewed all aspects of the proposal, including environmental impacts, public health and safety, air quality, hazardous materials, and engineering alternatives. Based on evidence presented at formal public hearings, the Committee found the project entitled to certification under the Warren-Alquist Act and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The new Kern County project expected to cost $500 million and to create 35 permanent jobs, is a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle facility. The combined-cycle power block consists of four combustion turbine generators, four heat recovery steam generators and exhaust stacks, and four steam turbines.

A new 14-mile bundled 230-kilovolt double circuit overhead transmission line will be built to interconnect to the east at the Midway Substation near Buttonwillow, California. Natural gas will be supplied by facilities jointly owned by the Kern River and Mojave Pipeline Company. A new 370-foot-long pipeline will be constructed across Reserve Road and tapped into a lateral of the system. A pipeline from McKittrick will convey potable water.

California Aqueduct water from the West Kern Water District would supply project water via a proposed new eight-mile pipeline. Construction will include a turnout from the aqueduct, a pump station and a 700,000-gallon water storage tank. The proposed transmission route will parallel the Midway-Sunset 230 kilovolt line; the water supply will largely follow Highway 58.

The first such electricity generation plant, the 500-megawatt Sutter Power Project near Yuba City, was approved by the Commission in April 1999. In August, the Commission approved Enron Corporation's plans for the Pittsburg District Energy Facility, located in eastern Contra Costa County, another 500-megawatt cogeneration plant.

Other power plant Applications for Certification filed with the Energy Commission include the following projects, listed here, along with the cities or counties in which they are proposed for construction and the anticipated size and cost of each facility.


The Commission's Web Site provides information on all these projects at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases

The Energy Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to certify sites and related facilities for thermal power plants in California that generate 50 megawatts or more of electricity.

The Commission's review process includes a comprehensive and objective analysis of all issues including but not limited to public health and safety, air quality, hazardous materials, environmental impacts and engineering design. Public input is a key element of the Commission's rigorous scrutiny of each power plant proposal. This process fulfills the obligations of the California Environmental Quality Act.

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