Submitted by Lori Ziebart, Quail Brush Generation Project Manager, in response to Jack Dale's Letter to the Editor, "Considering Quail Brush."
Recently, Council Member Jack Dale in his made several suggestions for the Quail Brush Generation Project (“Project”) sponsors to consider. We appreciate his input as well as the many comments, concerns and questions that have been posted by others to our website (www.quailbrush.com), the Santee Patch, and raised in .
We realize some of these comments have mischaracterized the Project, and therefore we are regularly meeting with stakeholders as well as updating our website to ensure those interested in learning more about Quail Brush have factual information upon which to make an informed decision on our Project.
We are also providing information to the California Energy Commission (“CEC”) and other governmental bodies as more issues are raised and as we move further along in the permitting process. Additionally, technical information about the Project, including responses to specific data requests posed by the CEC, can be found on the CEC website at www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/quailbrush/index.html
As to Council Member Dale’s specific concerns, we offer the following response ():
For background purposes, the proposed Quail Brush Generation Project is the result of the SDG&E 2009 competitive request for offers (“RFO”). This RFO was specifically directed at providing system support needed to help achieve SDG&E’s renewable portfolio goals established in 2002 under Senate Bill 1078.
To be awarded the opportunity to negotiate a contract with SDG&E, the plant must prove itself to be cost effective to the people and businesses that use the electricity it provides and to the California Public Utility Commission, the agency which determines whether the contract is in the best interest of all parties.
As to the site we selected, in addition to its proximity to existing electric transmission corridors and an existing natural gas transmission pipeline, it was chosen because preliminary studies showed it had the lowest biological, cultural, air quality and transportation impacts on the surrounding community.
Additionally, proximity to areas that demand electricity (load centers) is also important and the site chosen provides a balance between infrastructure and demand. The CEC, during its detailed and robust review process, will examine the proposed project site and Quail Brush will adhere to the recommendations resulting from this review process.
As to the issue of how often the plant will run, Quail Brush, under its permit obligations, will be prohibited from running 100 percent of the time. It will be operated as a peaking facility, called into service only during peak demand times or when there is a need for rapid delivery of electricity because other sources, particularly solar and wind resources, are not immediately available.
Additionally, the contract executed with SDG&E will only allow the Project to operate 3,800 hours per year (approximately 43 percent of the total hours in a year).
Cogentrix Energy, LLC, the parent company of Quail Brush Genco, LLC, strictly adheres to permit conditions and requirements and takes these obligations very seriously as failure to comply with all permit requirements will result in significant penalties and plant shut down.
Quail Brush will provide Santee, San Diego and the surrounding communities reliable power when they need it most and will help California meet its renewable energy goals by allowing more wind and to be added to the grid.
As to the potential impact the Project may have on the health of local residents, Quail Brush has been designed to strictly comply with all state and federal air emission requirements. Air quality standards are set by the California Air Resources Board, the Air Pollution Control District (“APCD”), and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) to assure the protection of human health and the environment.
Plant emissions are currently being examined by the CEC in its review process as well as by the APCD and USEPA. To ensure ongoing accurate measurements, the plant will be equipped with a Continuous Emissions Monitoring System to verify that emissions are at or below permitted values to prevent adverse health impacts to surrounding residents. Failure to comply with state and federal emission requirements will result in significant penalties and possible shut-down of the power plant.
We are committed to protecting the health and safety of the communities we serve, and the CEC’s rigorous and public review process will ensure that these commitments are honored and kept.
Cogentrix has a long history of responsible development and commitment to the communities it serves, and we are applying these same principles here.
We recognize that there are concerns about the Project, and we are working hard to address these issues. It is our belief that using factual information to make an informed decision is in the best interest of everyone and will help make the best long-term decision for this important project.