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Just who is the biggest yearly greenhouse gas emitter in San Diego? According to an interactive map posted online by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, that honor goes to the Otay Mesa Energy Center, a power plant on the border run by Calpine.

The facility boasts a total of 836,112 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, an international standard for measuring and comparing greenhouse gas amounts, according to the EPA.

Next up is the city of San Diego's West Miramar Sanitary Landfill at 200,863. (The North Miramar landfill is accounted for separately, with 22,394.)

Then comes Applied Energy LLC's Naval Station power plant with 186,757.

La Jolla's University of California San Diego is close behind at 153,820.

Among smaller emitters, Qualcomm Inc at Moorehouse Drive generates 26,938 metric tons, and Solar Turbines near the airport, which is trying to stop a loft project from being built nearby because of fears the factory may have to shut down due to its pollution levels, is on the list with 30,968.

According to the website, "facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHGs are required to annually report their GHG emissions to EPA.

"This facility-level data provides a 'bottom-up' accounting of the major sources of GHG emissions associated with stationary fuel combustion and industrial processes.

"Well over half of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for in this facility level data set, including nearly complete coverage of major emitting sectors such as power plants and refineries."

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Comments

macblastoff Jan. 23, 2012 @ 4:40 p.m.

Mr. Potter: You did state at the beginning of the piece that the posted numbers from the ghgdate.epa.gov website was for annual greenhouse gas emissions. But the more signficant story is how efficient each of those major emitters that are energy producers are. Lookup the nominal (non-peak) output capabilities of the three leading county power generators and you'll be surprised to note that the Encina Power Station (Cabrillo Plant) generates 965 MW nominal power while listed under the 2010 stats at .23 G MT CO2e, whereas the Otay Mesa Energy and Palomar Energy Center produce 513 and 554 MW respectively at their considerably elevated .84 G MT CO2e and 1.2 G MT CO2e. The question you should be investigating is how the Encina Station, which was recently challenged by residents to expand it's capacity by 200 MW, can run so efficiently, and what the actual cost of power generation is per MW using the steam turbine generation, as opposed to the two cycle units in place at the other two generation sites. Otay Mesa 2010 emissions isn't a story because it's squirreled away by the Otay Mesa Truck border crossing with (currently) no neighborhoods nearby. How 'bout going against the grain and pointing out the fallacy of NIMBYism when it doesn't hold up--not all data points to a scandal, and using words like "honor" and "boast" belie an anti-energy agenda.

--Matt Thompson

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