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CEC releases Orange Grove staff analysis

Hearing Dec. 19 at Pala Mesa Resort.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released its staff analysis of the proposed Orange Grove power plant.

The staff analysis was released November 6. “It will serve as their testimony at the evidentiary hearing,” said California Energy Committee spokesperson Percy Della.

The evidentiary hearing itself will take place December 19 at the Pala Mesa Resort’s Sun Room and will begin at 10 a.m. A pre-hearing conference was held December 1 in Sacramento.

The staff analysis concluded that sufficient information exists to recommend licensing of the 96-megawatt facility.

“It’s in compliance pretty much,” Della said. “Anyone who can present evidence to the contrary can appear at the evidentiary hearing.”

The staff analysis indicated that the proposed project would comply with all applicable laws, regulations, ordinances, and standards, and that environmental impacts can be mitigated to less than significant levels.

No decision on licensing will be made at the December 19 hearing. The decision will be made by the full panel at a later date following a 30-day public review period.

Orange Grove Energy, LP, has proposed a simple-cycle power plant on a 220-acre site located off Pala Del Norte Road.

The property, which is owned by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), has A72 agricultural zoning, and an existing SDG&E substation which serves the community of Pala is located on an adjacent parcel to the south.

A citrus grove currently exists on the parcel.

Because the output will be between 50 and 100 megawatts, Orange Grove Energy had initially sought a Small Power Plant Exemption (SPPE) to the Application for Certification.

In order to grant an SPPE, the California Energy Commission must find that the plant will not create a substantial impact on the environment, energy resources, the transmission system, or public health.

After applying for the SPPE, Orange Grove Energy introduced changes to the plant which required additional environmental review and eliminated the time-saving benefit of an SPPE, and in April Orange Grove Energy and the CEC agreed to undergo a full Application for Certification.

The work for the SPPE application was incorporated into the more comprehensive application which examines public health and safety, environmental impacts, and engineering aspects of power plants and related facilities such as transmission lines and natural gas pipelines.

Under the agreement between Orange Grove Energy and SDG&E, Orange Grove Energy will be responsible for constructing the plant and an underground electric transmission line to the Pala substation boundary approximately 2/10 of a mile away.

Orange Grove Energy will operate the plant and will have a tolling agreement with SDG&E for generating electrical power.

The facility is intended for peak periods and was proposed as a response to an SDG&E request for new peak period resources.

The facility would include two 50-megawatt combustion turbine generators, a gas metering station, water, and natural gas pipelines.

It would be fueled by natural gas delivered to the site by a two-mile extension of an existing SDG&E gas line.

Dry cooling technology is proposed for turbine cooling, but General Electric’s power boost technology requires water for power augmentation of the generators.

The Rainbow Municipal Water District will construct a new 1.8-mile waterline between the existing main and the site boundary which will provide water for the generation process as well as for domestic and sanitary needs.

The annual water usage is estimated at 117 acre-feet.

Air emissions from the proposed plant would be controlled through technology including a water injection system, a carbon monoxide catalyst, and a selective catalytic reduction system.

The construction phase of the plant is expected to take approximately six months.

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