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The San Diego County Air Pollution Control Board moved on Wednesday (June 17) to allow the controversial new Pio Pico gas-fired power plant in Otay Mesa to increase periodic sulfur oxide emissions by as much as 10 percent.

The amendment to the county's preliminary approval was made "to increase the allowable maximum hourly heat input and power output of each combustion turbine by approximately 10%, to account for design changes to the turbines made by the manufacturer."

The Pio Pico plant, with its 300-megawatt generation capacity will also bring more pollution to an area that already hosts the 590-megawatt Otay Mesa Energy Center. The new plant is being built as a replacement for the aging Encina plant in Carlsbad, where another battle is being waged against a new gas plant.

The county says that while emissions could increase up to 10 percent while the plant is operating, there is no overall change in pollution because, as a "peaker" plant, Pio Pico only runs when there is demand on the grid. The plant has a maximum allowable emissions level per year, and as long as the plant runs less than it would have under the approved guidelines, net emissions don't change.

Environmentalists and neighborhood opponents have already argued that actual emissions will likely be higher than the cap set, noting that federal Environmental Protection Agency guidelines allow for a 41-minute window during startup and shutdown where total allowable pollution is as much as five times higher than the baseline measurement. With a gas peaker plant, the facility could be switched on and off up to 500 times per year.

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CaptD June 20, 2015 @ 10:45 a.m.

Yet another POOR financial decision by the San Diego County Air Pollution Control Board for SD future air quality, since as your article points out the real emissions will be quite a bit higher, while at the same time we are being told by them that San Diego needs to improve our air quality!

Remember, the "need" for this Peaker Plant could easily be eliminated if the some of the money it cost to build was used to help SD residents finance installing solar roofs, which would not only save everyone money (except the Utility shareholders) but also help improve the air we all breathe.

This decision also points out how our local elected officials are doing what is best for SDG&E instead of what is best for all the residents of San Diego and that decision coming right after the CPUC slammed SoCal with a $5 Billion bill for their SCE/SDG&E operational debacle at San Onofre, it is easy to see why San Diego has some of the highest priced Energy in the USA*.

More background about what ever more people are calling San Onofre Gate**: Video: http://www.dianuke.org/5-billion-cover-up-at-san-onofre-mia-severson/

BIG Utilities are working very hard behind the scenes to do everything they can to convince people that the use of Solar is only a good option if it is Utility Scale Solar (since the Utility would then remain the Energy provider).

Here is the most current attempt, which I refer to as Solar "mud slinging", from San Diego's very own Voice of San Diego (VoSD), Morning Report: Solar Power's Hidden Risks

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/news/morning-report-solar-powers-hidden-risks/

"Tip of the Hat" to the SD Reader for providing a public forum that actually allows discussion, instead the Pro-Utility Propaganda we are being fed by the UT and VoSD, if they even choose to mention it.

  • If you are using Twitter, just enter #SanOnofreGate into the Twitter search bar and it will allow you to keep up to date about the ongoing investigation into the multi-billion Dollar SCE-CPUC ripoff of SoCal ratepayers.

** http://sanonofresafety.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/compareyourelectricrates2012-04.jpg

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