CA Power Authority Pushes for New Gas, Green Power Plants

California's fledgling Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority (power authority) last week continued its breakneck start-up, announcing its pursuit of various gas-fired and renewable power generation projects that are aimed at giving the state another 3,000 MW online by next summer. In addition, the power authority said it has posted on its web site (www.capowerauthority.ca.gov) a draft request for bids for microturbine, solar and fuel cell projects.

In just its third meeting, the five-member power authority board took further actions to power the state with what it calls "clean and reliable energy," meaning firm energy combined with intermittent sources, such as wind and solar projects.

Authority chairman David Freeman told the board he has signed 14 letters of intent to begin negotiations for proposed projects representing approximately 1,800 MW of renewable energy-generated power, mainly from wind and bio-fuel. The power authority's goal is ultimately to sign contracts to acquire 1,000 MW by summer of 2002.

"The authority is committed to reaching Gov. Gray Davis' recommended 17% goal of clean energy by 2006," Freeman said.

"Peak loads during peak times call for a combination of firm 'green power' that remains available when our intermittent sources, such as wind and solar do not generate," said Freeman. "Having received numerous proposals, we have the ability to pull from both resources to advance toward our goal of having a 15% reserve for the state."

"As we've begun to review proposals submitted by both renewable energy and gas-fired peaker developers, we must recognize the need to provide energy to the state that is not only clean but reliable as well," said Director Sunne McPeak.

Mirroring what it did recently with renewable proposals, the power authority board last Monday authorized Freeman to enter into (nonbinding) letters of intent for natural gas-fired peaking plant projects, freeing the power authority chairman to begin pursuing approximately 2,000 MW of gas peaker projects to come on-line next summer. The authority so far has received proposals from more than 60 developers of natural gas-fired peakers, Freeman said.

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