Wednesday, August 13, 2008
An environmental group is against a proposed expansion of a small power plant in a Chula Vista neighborhood. Some homeowners and parents are worried about the plant's location near homes and an elementary school. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has more.
MMC Energy wants approval from the state energy commission to demolish its small gas-fired power plant.
The plant is in southwest Chula Vista. The company wants to double the capacity and build a more efficient plant. The facility is used only at times of peak energy demand...normally about 500 hours a year.
Leo Miras with the Environmental Health Coalition says the upgraded plant could run up to 4500 hours a year. And that's what worries him.
Miras: The city has said it itself: there will be a likely net increase in pollution because this plant will run a lot more than the old plant did.
The company says that would only happen in an extreme power emergency. Miras wants the old plant torn down. If a new one has to be built, he wants it in a different location.
Miras: And you know we're willing to work with the city and MMC about other solutions to getting that energy that doesn't mean selling out our community's health.
Michael Meacham is Chula Vista's director of conservation and environmental services. He says the city has offered its own recommendations on the proposal.
Meacham: Some potential reduction in the future expansion of the plant and some local mitigation.
Meacham says the state energy commission is expected to hold at least two more public hearings on the expansion proposal.
If the energy commission grants a permit, the plant could be built sometime next year.
Ed Joyce, KPBS News.