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September 15, 2012 (San Diego) - The California Energy Commission on September 12 approved the construction of the proposed Pio Pico Energy Center, a natural gas-fired “peaker” power plant.

By a 4-0 vote, the Energy Commission adopted the presiding member's proposed decision (PMPD) for the project.

"This power plant will be able to respond quickly and follow load fluctuations in the San Diego area when power demand is high,” said Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman, presiding member for the committee reviewing the project.

In the PMPD, 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.

Pio Pico Energy Center, LLC, the applicant for the project, will construct a natural gas-fired, simple-cycle electrical generating facility. The proposed project site is located in an unincorporated area of southwestern San Diego County at the intersection of Alta Road and Calzada de la Fuente. The 10-acre site sits adjacent to the Otay Mesa Generating Project.

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. Construction on the project would last 16 months with work scheduled to start the first quarter of 2013 and commercial operation by May 2014. The project would require an average monthly workforce of 148 employees during construction, with a peak of 284. Twelve employees would be needed when the project is operating, according to the applicant.

More information on the Pio Pico project is available at:

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