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California Energy Commission Approves 300-Megawatt Natural Gas Power Plant

A proposed 300-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant near the U.S.-Mexico border was unanimously approved today by the California Energy Commission.

The $300 million Pio Pico Energy Center is slated for 10 acres along Alta Road, adjacent to the Otay Mesa Generating Project. It's known as a "peaker'' plant, that will kick into operation during periods of high demand on San Diego Gas & Electric's system.

"This power plant will be able to respond quickly and follow load fluctuations in the San Diego area when power demand is high," said Commissioner Carla Peterman, presiding member for the committee reviewing the project.

The committee ruled that the plant will have no significant impact on the environment and complies with all applicable regulations.

Construction is scheduled to start early next year, and operations are set to begin in May 2014, according to the commission.

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