Elk Hills Power Plant Project

Docket Number:

99-AFC-01 (Application For Certification)
99-AFC-1C (Compliance Proceeding)

Project Status: Licensed; In Compliance Phase. Operational: July 24, 2003.

The California Energy Commission approved this project's Application for Certification on December 6, 2000. The Commission monitors the power plant's construction, operation and eventual decommissioning through a compliance proceeding.

Committee that oversaw Original Licensing Proceeding:

Michal C. Moore, Commissioner, Presiding Member

Robert Pernell, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Major Williams

Key Dates

  • October 14, 1998 - Elk Hills Power, LLC files a Request for Jurisdictional Determination requesting a exemption from the requirement to file a Notice of Intention (NOI) for construction of a power plant in California.
  • January 6, 1999 - California Energy Commission grants Elk Hills Power, LLC an exemption from the requirement to file a Notice of Intention (NOI) for construction of a power plant in California.
  • February 24, 1999 - Elk Hills Power, LLC files Application For Certification (AFC) for the Elk Hills Power Project (EHPP).
  • March 31, 1999 - Energy Commission deems AFC Data Inadequate.
  • June 9, 1999 - Second Data Adequacy Determination at a Commission Business Meeting.
  • November 19, 1999 - Staff issues Preliminary Staff Assessment.
  • January 6, 2000 - Staff issues Final Staff Assessment, Part 1 of 3.
  • February 18, 2000 - Staff issues Final Staff Assessment, Part 2 of 3.
  • April 28, 2000 - Staff issues Final Staff Assessment, Part 3 of 3.
  • August 25, 2000 - Presiding Member's Proposed Decision released.
  • November 20, 2000 - Revised Presiding Member's Proposed Decision (PMPD) issued.
  • December 6, 2000 - Energy Commission certifies the application and grants the license for the Elk Hills Power Project.
  • July 23, 2003 - Elk Hills Power Project declared as fully on line.


The project as proposed by Elk Hills Power, LLC is a nominal 500 megawatt, natural gas-fired, combined cycle facility. The power plant would consist of two combustion turbine generators (CTGs), two heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) and exhaust stacks, and one steam turbine. It is a joint venture between Sempra Energy Resources and Occidental Energy Ventures of Elk Hills.

The Elk Hills Power Project (EHPP) will be located on 12 acres roughly in the center of the 74 square mile Elk Hills Oil and Gas Field operated by Occidental Energy Ventures of Elk Hills, Inc. (OEHI). The site is in western Kern County, California, approximately 25 miles west of Bakersfield, California. The project site is situated near the intersection of Elk Hills Road and Skyline Road.

A proposed new 9-mile bundled 230 kilovolt (kV) double circuit overhead transmission line will be built to interconnect either to the east at a new substation near Tupman, California, or north to the Midway substation near Buttonwillow, California. Natural gas will be supplied by a proposed new 2,500 foot, 10-inch supply pipeline owned and operated by OEHI.

Process water would be groundwater provided by the West Kern Water District (WKWD) and conveyed to the project site by a proposed new 9.8-mile, 16-inch supply pipeline. This pipeline would originate east of the power plant site at WKWD's water storage site located southwest of the intersection of the California Aqueduct and State Highway 119. Wastewater would be disposed of in proposed new disposal wells located 4 miles south of the power plant site and would be conveyed by a proposed new pipeline.

Energy Commission Facility Certification Process

The California Energy Commission is the lead agency (for licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts and larger) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and has a certified regulatory program under CEQA. Under its certified program, the Energy Commission is exempt from having to prepare an environmental impact report. Its certified program, however, does require environmental analysis of the project, including an analysis of alternatives and mitigation measures to minimize any significant adverse effect the project may have on the environment.

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