Palomar Energy Center

Docket Number:

01-AFC-24 (Application For Certification)
01-AFC-24C (Compliance Proceeding)

Project Status: Licensed; In Compliance Phase. Operational: April 1, 2006

The California Energy Commission approved this project's Application for Certification on August 6, 2003. The Commission monitors the power plant's construction, operation and eventual decommissioning through a compliance proceeding.

Committee that oversaw Original Licensing Proceeding:

John L. Geesman, Commissioner, Presiding Member

William Keese, , Chairman, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Susan Gefter

Key Dates

  • November 28, 2001 - Palomar Energy LLC files Application For Certification (AFC).
  • February 6, 2002 - Commission determines Application For Certification is Data Adequate.
  • August 27, 2002 - Preliminary Staff Assessment released.
  • January 24, 2003 - Final Staff Assessment released.
  • June 27, 2003 - Presiding Member's Proposed Decision released.
  • August 6, 2003 - Commission approves license of Palomar Power Project.
  • April 1, 2006 - Power plant begins commercial operation.


On November 28, 2001, Palomar Energy, LLC filed an Application for Certification with the California Energy Commission seeking approval to construct and operate the Palomar Energy Project. The project was approved by the Energy Commission on August 6, 2003.

The project consists of a natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant and associated reclaimed water supply and brine return pipelines. The proposed project will have a nominal electrical output of 546 megawatts, and commercial operation is planned for the summer of 2004. The project location is a 20-acre site within a planned 186-acre industrial park in the City of Escondido, San Diego County, California. The project site is about 600 feet southwest of the intersection of Vineyard Avenue and Enterprise Street, west of Interstate 15 and south of State Highway 78.

The project includes two combustion turbine-generators equipped with dry low combustors and evaporative inlet air coolers, two heat recovery steam generators equipped with duct burners, a steam turbine-generator and associated auxiliary systems and equipment. The project includes a new 230 kV switchyard connecting with an existing San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E) electric transmission line located immediately adjacent to the project site. The project does not require construction of any new transmission lines.

The project will be fueled with natural gas delivered via the SDG&E gas system. An existing SDG&E natural gas pipeline with sufficient capacity to serve the project is located immediately adjacent to the project site. In order to relieve a bottleneck in a segment of the existing SDG&E gas system located about 1 mile northeast of the project site, SDG&E will construct an upgrade consisting of approximately 2,600 feet of 16-inch pipeline.

Reclaimed water for the project will be supplied from the City of Escondidoƕs Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility (HARRF) via a new 1.1 mile, 16-inch pipeline extending from an existing reclaimed water main. Brine from the project, consisting entirely of cooling tower blowdown, will be returned to the HARRF via a new 1.1 mile, 8-inch return pipeline routed alongside the reclaimed water supply 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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