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PG&E Corp. Swaps Power Plant, Truck Emissions Credits

PG&E Corp. Swaps Power Plant, Truck Emissions Credits

PG&E Corp. last week made another stride to bring more electricity generating projects online in an attempt to provide California with an adequate power supply in the future. The company entered into an agreement with Waste Management Inc. to replace 120 diesel-fueled garbage collection trucks with natural gas-fueled versions in order to offset the emissions of a proposed 500 MW natural gas-fired power plant to be located in San Diego County.

This project marks the first time in the nation that emission reductions from mobile sources have been used to offset emissions from a major new stationary source. The diesel-powered trucks will be replaced with natural gas-fired Mack trucks, which will reduce emissions by more than 50%. PG&E National Energy Group (NEG) and Waste Management together will spend $33 million on the fleet conversion project.

The air emission credits earned through this project will be used by the PG&E National Energy Group to help offset emissions from the proposed Otay Mesa generating project.

"As we have seen this summer, there is a critical need for new power supplies in California, including the San Diego region. New base-load power plants, like Otay Mesa, are the long-term solution to the immediate problem," said Thomas B. King, president of the PG&E NEG's West Region.

PG&E NEG will pay for the difference in cost between replacing the existing 120 trucks with new diesel-fueled engines, and replacing them with the more expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel systems. The company will also construct an LNG fuel station, which can be used by other fleets that convert as well.

The trucks will be replaced on an expedited schedule of 18 months. The replacement of the trucks will account for one-third of the offset needed for the power plant to be built. The remaining two-thirds of emission reduction will come from the conversion to cleaner burning fuel of two of San Diego Harbor Excursions' vessels, and from other stationary sources in San Diego County.

The construction of Otay Mesa marks the first major power plant to be built in San Diego County in almost 30 years. Scheduled for commercial service in the middle of 2003, the facility will generate enough power for a half million homes. Construction begins early next year.

Alex Steis

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