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SDG&E opens Escondido Energy Center

San Diego Gas and Electric officially opened the state-of-the-art Palomar Energy Center in Escondido today. It is the first new power plant to be built in San Diego County in 40 years. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The gas powered plant can generate enough electricity for 360,000 homes. This is the first of two new power plants planned by SDG&E, to help offset energy shortages that emerged after California's energy deregulation. Ed Guiles is chairman of SDG&E.

Guiles: It is one of the most energy efficient plants to be built in the country converting natural gas to electricity 30 percent more efficient that the old electric generation and it's here before the summer of 2006 which is important to meet the reliability requirements of our customers."

The plant uses over three million gallons of recyled water a day in it cooling towers. SDG&E is requesting to modify rules on how much pollution the plant can emit, but Giles says emissions should not exceed legal limits. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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