A proposed 300-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant near the U.S.-Mexico border was unanimously approved Wednesday by the California Energy Commission (CEC), the same body that controls the fate of a similar power plant proposed to be built near Santee.
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 Pio Pico 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.
The Quail Brush Power Project, slated for development in the hills north of Santee, would also be a peaker plant, but of smaller size, a . Community groups, , environmental groups, the and others have voiced opposition to the plant.
The project was by the San Diego Planning Commission, but the applicant has appealed to the San Diego City Council. At that meeting, the that the CEC has the ability to override local government, and has final decision over approval of the project.
-City News Service contributed to this report