CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION RECOMMENDS LICENSING PIO PICO ENERGY CENTER IN OTAY

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August 9, 2012 (Otay)--A California Energy Commission siting committee is recommending the approval of the proposed Pio Pico Energy Center.  In the presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD) released today, the committee said the 300-megawatt (MW) project, as mitigated, will have no significant impacts on the environment and complies with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards (LORS).

Pio Pico Energy Center, LLC, is the applicant for the project, which is a natural gas-fired, simple-cycle electrical generating facility. The proposed project site is located at the intersection of Alta Road and Calzada de la Fuente in an unincorporated area of southwestern San Diego County. The 10-acre site is next to the Otay Mesa Generating Project in an industrial area.
 
An earlier proposed site for the project at the southern tip ot Otay County Lakes Park was withdrawn by the applicant after state and federal wildlife agencies indicated that they would not support the “peaker” power plant in that location.
 
According to a press release issued by the CEC, “The proposed decision was based solely on evidence developed in evidentiary hearings during the facility's certification proceeding. The PMPD is not a final decision on the project.”  The siting committee released the document for 30 days of public comment. The committee will consider input before bringing the proposed decision to the full Energy Commission. The entire document can be found on the Energy Commission's website at: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/piopico/documents/
 
The 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 Energy Commission staff's thorough and independent assessment of the project's potential impacts on the environment, public health and safety.
 
The capital cost for the Pio Pico project is estimated to be $300 million. If the Energy Commission approves the project, construction would last 16 months with the work starting the first quarter of 2013 and commercial operation by May 2014. The project would require an average of 148 workers during construction, with a peak of 284. Twelve employees would be needed when the project is operating, according to the applicant.