California regulators override local law to approve Calpine plant


By Ann de Rouffignac
OGJ Online

HOUSTON, Sept. 25, 2001 — After a 2-year plus struggle to get state and local approval, Calpine Corp. received the final okay from state regulators for its Metcalf power plant in San Jose, Calif.

The California Energy Commission exercised its "override authority" over local laws for only the second time in the commission's history. The plant still does not conform with San Jose land use laws even though Calpine and the commission made a concerted effort to get local authorities on board.

In 1981, the commission used its authority to approve a transmission line Sonoma County over the opposition of county officials. Court challenges of the decision were unsuccessful, said Claudia Chandler, commission spokeswoman.

The commission used its override authority for Metcalf because the plant is considered key to a state plan to avoid power shortages in certain locations where power is required for reliability, the commission said.

"The commissioners agreed with the staff that the need for the project and benefits it will bring to the San Jose area outweigh its lack of compliance with local ordinances," the commission said.

The 600 Mw Metcalf plant will be located on a 20-acre site in San Jose at the southern base of Tulare Hill in northern Coyote Valley. Construction is scheduled to begin in October with commercial operation expected for summer 2003.

The merchant power plant company and the city of San Jose were locked into a bitter battle over the location of the proposed plant. The city and many residents in neighborhoods near the proposed plant site claimed environmental problems would result from the plant's operation.

The mayor and the city council also refused to sell water to the plant until a May agreement was hammered out between Calpine and the city. Calpine agreed to give the city about $6.5 million for parks and to subsidize electricity bills for low income consumers, in addition to other concessions.

The city of San Jose also agreed not to challenge a commission override. But the city also declined to change the zoning designation. The original request for a zoning change was denied in November 2000, said David Vossbrink, spokesman for Mayor Ron Gonzalez of San Jose.

"The root of the controversy is still there," he said. "The proposed project is not consistent with land use designation for that area."

Vossbrink said a neighborhood group will appeal the commission's override to the California Supreme Court. Calpine spokeswoman Lisa Poelle said appeals would not delay the groundbreaking.

Sponsored by FLSmidth
Recommend this article Recommend this article () You recommended this article You recommended this article ()
Follow Power Engineering on Twitter

Products Showcase

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Latest News

Shutterstock coal production trucks

Weekly Coal Production

The Weekly Coal Production shows how much coal is being produced across the U.S.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Weekly Economic Indicators financial business

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Economic Indicators

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas offers a glimpse into how the markets are doing domestical...

Kvaerner awarded contract for gas-fired power plant in Delaware

Kvaerner North American Construction Inc. and its joint venture partner, Parsons Brinckerhoff...

Canadian Solar purchases two solar projects

Canadian Solar Inc. has acquired a majority interest in two utility-scale solar power project...

Operators Restart Unit 2 at PPL Susquehanna

Unit 2 at the PPL Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick, Pa. resumed generating electr...

Settlement agreement limits cost recovery at Edwardsport

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on Dec. 27 modified and approved a settlemen...

Toshiba in talks to sell portion of Westinghouse nuclear unit

Toshiba Corp is in talks  to sell up to 16% of its stake in the Westinghouse Electric Co...

Utah nixes nuclear waste storage facility

Plans to park radioactive waste at a storage facility in Utah have been officially called off.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Current Magazine Issue

08/01/2013
Volume 117, Issue 8
1308PE_C1_digital

Power Industry Wire News

Anadarko Announces Board of Directors Election

Anadarko Announces Board of Directors Election

Range Announces Second Quarter 2014 Results

Range Announces Second Quarter 2014 Results

VIA CEO John Weber to Speak at Electric Vehicle Conference

VIA CEO John Weber to Speak at Electric Vehicle Conference

PHI Group Signs Agreements to Set Up Joint Venture Wood Pellet Factories in Vietnam

PHI Group Signs Agreements to Set Up Joint Venture Wood Pellet Factories in Vietnam

High School Students From Across the U.S. Explore Chemistry and Careers at the BASF Science Academy

High School Students From Across the U.S. Explore Chemistry and Careers at the BASF Sci...

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>