California Public Utilities Commission approves
PG&E Hunters Point power plant closure
By Adam Martin Bay City News Service
March 15, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO(BCN) Pacific Gas and Electric Co. today
announced that it will close the aging Hunters Point power plant
In 1998 the utility announced plans to close the gas-powered
plant. Since then it has been working to complete nine electrical
transmission projects specified by the California Independent
Systems Operator, which would allow for the plant's closure, spokesman
Paul Moreno said today.
With the completion of the final two projects nearing, the utility
announced that the California Public Utilities Commission today
approved PG&E's request to close the plant. "Every step
in this process has required some layer of CPUC approval,'' Moreno
Since the utility had been working with the commission on its
transmission projects, it was fully aware of PG&E's plan to
close the plant.
"Everyone in the room was in favor of the plant's closing,''
Moreno said of today's commission vote.
PG&E's final two projects include the Jefferson Martin transmission
line, which will bring power to San Francisco from the Jefferson
substation in Redwood City. They also include the Potrero-Hunters
Point cable project, a 2.5-mile cable that connects the Potrero
substation and Hunters point substation.
"The plant's closing is condition-specific, not time-specific,''
Moreno said. He said the utility expects to be able to meet the
conditions set by the ISO this spring.
The ISO currently requires PG&E operate the plant under the
"reliability-must-run'' contract, Moreno said, but will release
the plant from that contract once the last of the nine transmission
projects are completed and tested. After it's released, the utility
can choose to close or to continue to operate the plant. We won't
go back on our word,'' Moreno said. "I don't think even the
strongest cynics think we won't close it.''
Moreno said that the plant operates in full compliance with all
federal, state, and local regulations. "Bear in mind that
when we built that plant out there in 1929 there was nothing out
there,'' he continued.
As the neighborhood grew and businesses and homes were built
closer and closer to the plant, local residents started calling
for the plant's closure. Linda Richardson, chair of the Close
It! coalition, said in a statement, "On July 9, 1998, members
of the Bayview Hunters Point community, including myself, signed
an agreement to close the Hunters Point Power Plant. The closing
of the plant will mark a historic day of immense proportions.''
PG&E shut down two of the plant's four generating units in
2000, Moreno said. One of the remaining two in operation is a
main generator and one is a "peaker,'' or backup generator.
Moreno said the main unit can generate about 163 megawatts at
its full capacity, while the Jefferson-Martin transmission project
alone can carry 400 megawatts, enough to power 300,000 homes,
to the city.
Moreno said the utility does not currently have plans for the
plant site. "When we close the plant a contractor will demolish
and remove all structures. The substation next to the plant will
remain, but it has no emissions and does not generate power,''
The utility might sell the land, Moreno said, at which point
the city of San Francisco would be given first right of refusal
to buy the land for the price of the highest bid.
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