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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quail Brush Developer Mulling Changes to Project

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A firm vying to build a natural gas-fired power plant on Santee’s western border is “considering making some modifications to the profile of the proposed project,” in response to public criticism,  according to an April 16 report from the California Energy Commission.

Cogentrix Energy of North Carolina is redesigning the project to lower the proposed 11 exhaust stacks from 100 to 70 feet and group them into two clusters, said Eric Solorio, the agency's siting project manager.

Lowering the stacks will require Cogentrix to do new modeling to show the predicted path of emissions from the plant, and grouping the stacks into two clusters will require changes to the project's grading plan, Solorio said.  Studies to gauge the effect of the redesign will take about six weeks to complete, he said.
As currently proposed, the 100-megawatt electrical generating facility would include eleven 100-foot-tall exhaust stacks, a 30-foot-tall water tank and other two-story structures spread over an 11-acre site near the Sycamore Canyon landfill.

In March, the Santee City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the power plant “unless and until all effects of the proposal are fully disclosed, analyzed and mitigated (to) reduce effects to a level of insignificance in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.”

In addition to obtaining a permit from the Energy Commission, Cogentrix Energy needs approval from the city of San Diego to rezone the site from open space to industrial. The San Diego City Planning Commission has rescheduled its public hearing on the proposed rezone for April 26.

The Energy Commission also plans to hold more public hearings on Quail Brush, but not until the applicant provides more information about the project, the report states.

 Energy Commission officials recently cancelled a public hearing originally scheduled for April to allow themselves more time to review additional information requested from the developers.

“Once staff receives the applicant’s outstanding data responses and evaluates the information, then staff will schedule and notice future workshops, as needed, in order to address substantive issues,” the report states.

 Energy Commission officials said they have received numerous letters from the public, most of which “express concerns about potential environmental impacts of the proposed” project.

In March, nearly 200 people attended an informational workshop hosted by the Energy Commission, which also received a petition containing more than 1,000 signatures of people opposed to the project.

You can read the entire report here.

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