California approves 300-MW Pio Pico gas plant

The California Energy Commission on Sept. 12 unanimously approved construction of the 300-MW Pio Pico natural gas-fueled power plant in San Diego County.

The 4-0 vote to adopt the “presiding member’s proposed decision” (PMPD) clears the way for construction of the estimated $300m project that would be located on a 10-acre site adjacent to the Otay Mesa Generating project, which is a Calpine (NYSE: CPN) operation.

Pio Pico is funded by Energy Investors Funds.

“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, said in a statement.

Pio Pico LLC will build a natural gas-fired, simple-cycle electrical generating facility. The proposed project site is located in an unincorporated area of southwestern San Diego County.

The proposed decision determined that the project would comply with the California Environmental Quality Act and would have no significant impacts on the environment, public health and safety.

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.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at