Panoche Energy Center
Power Plant Licensing Case

Docket Number:

06-AFC-05 (Application For Certification)
06-AFC-5C (Compliance Proceeding)

Project Status: Licensed; In Compliance Phase. Operational: July 1, 2009.

The California Energy Commission approved this project's Application for Certification on December 19, 2007. The Commission monitors the power plant's construction, operation and eventual decommissioning through a compliance proceeding.

Committee that oversaw Original Licensing Proceeding:

Jeffrey Byron, Commissioner, Presiding Member

James Boyd, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Paul Kramer

Key Dates

  • 8/2/06 - Application for Certification (AFC) filed.
  • 11/8/06 - Commission Declares Application "data adequate."
  • 6/28/07 - Staff releases Preliminary Staff Assessment.
  • 9/17/07 - Staff releases Final Staff Assessment.
  • 11/14/07 - Committee releases Presiding Member's Proposed Decision.
  • 12/19/07 - Commission final decision approving license for the project.
  • 7/1/09 - Plant operational and producing comercial power.


The Panoche Energy Center (PEC) is a proposed simple-cycle electrical generating facility located within western Fresno County adjacent to the Panoche Hills and east of San Benito county line. The project site is approximately 50 miles west of the city of Fresno. The generating facility will include four General Electric LMS100 natural gas-fired combustion turbine generators (CTGs), each equipped with water injection to the combustors for reducing production of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system with 19 percent aqueous ammonia injection to further reduce NOx emissions, and an oxidation catalyst to reduce carbon monoxide (CO). The total net generating capacity will be approximately 400 megawatts (MW).

The project area is located in the unincorporated area of western Fresno County, adjacent to the Panoche Hills and east of the San Benito County line. The site is approximately 50 miles west of the City of Fresno and approximately 2 miles east of Interstate 5. The site is more specifically described as the Southwest Quarter of Section 5, Township 15 South, Range 13 East, on the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Quadrangle map (Figure 3.2-1). The assessor's parcel number (APN) is 027-060-78S.

The facility site will be located on a 12.8-acre site within a 128-acre parcel. The construction laydown area, including laydown and parking, consists of an 8-acre portion of the 128-acre parcel immediately south of the 12.8-acre plant site. The plant site and construction area are leased by the applicant from the property owners. The 128-acre parcel is currently in agricultural production with pomegranate trees. Offsite improvements associated with the project include a 400-foot paved access road south of West Panoche Road to the plant site, 2,400 linear feet of new gas pipeline, 300-foot transmission line to tie into the Panoche Substation, and the PG&E expansion of the Panoche Substation by approximately 1.1 acres south of the existing substation boundary.

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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