PG&E breaks ground on new Antioch power plant
Photo courtesy InsideBayArea.com
By Caitilin McAdoo, Bay City News Service
January 25, 2007
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. broke ground Wednesday on a new,
environmentally friendly power plant that will be built within
the existing, partially completed Mirant Corp. power generating
facility near Antioch.
The project, which is expected to cost an estimated $370 million
-- in addition to what Mirant put into it to begin construction
-- will provide enough electricity for 400,000 Northern and Central
California customers by 2009, according to PG&E.
PG&E obtained the partially constructed power plant in a
2005 settlement agreement with Mirant, which had been accused
of price gouging and market manipulation during the state's 2000-01
energy crisis. PG&E also had claimed Mirant violated a reliability
contract, which led to the agreement that PG&E would complete
and run the plant near Antioch then known as Contra Costa Unit
PG&E has since upgraded the plant to a more energy-efficient
and cleaner design and has changed the name of the facility to
Gateway, PG&E reported.
The Gateway facility is designed to use 97 percent less water
and produce 96 percent less discharge than conventional water-cooling
systems, PG&E reported.
The facility also will use clean-burning natural gas turbines
to generate power, which makes the plant more energy efficient.
According to PG&E, the plant will generate 35 percent less
carbon dioxide for every megawatt of power produced than older
Once completed, PG&E will employ 23 to 25 full-time employees
and will pay about $1.5 million annually in property taxes to
Contra Costa County.
During peak construction, PG&E expects to employ an estimated
400 workers to build the plant.
PG&E received approval from the California Public Utilities
Commission in June 2006 to complete construction and to operate
the facility, but is still waiting for approval of some design
changes, including the so-called dry cooling system that will
reduce use of water, from the California Public Utilities Commission
and the California Energy Commission.
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