Davis Hails New Calif. Power Plant
Jun. 27, 2001
SACRAMENTO (AP) _ The start-up of a new power plant signals a turning point in California's energy crisis, but rolling blackouts still are likely this summer, Gov. Gray Davis said Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Davis will throw the switch on the 320-megawatt Sunrise Power Project in Bakersfield. It is one of three plants expected to come online in the state before mid-July, part of a strategy to create a power surplus by 2004, increase competition and reduce electricity prices.
``I still believe we'll likely have some disruptions,'' Davis told The Associated Press. ``Our job is to plan for the worst and hope for the best.''
Sunrise is the first of 16 power plants licensed during Davis' administration to start generating. A 500-megawatt plant in Yuba City is expected to come online Monday and a 560-megawatt plant near Pittsburg is set to begin generating July 7. One megawatt is roughly enough power for 750 homes.
Sunrise's owner, Edison Mission Energy, is due to receive a bonus of up to $1 million for speeding construction, Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio said.
Under a program created by the governor in April, power suppliers who bring new plants online this summer, when the electricity crunch is likely to be most severe, will receive bonuses.
Construction of the Sunrise plant started in December 2000, just 6 1/2 months ago.
All three of the new plants will be powered by natural gas, which has sold for record high prices in recent months.
But Davis said he expects the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to address high gas natural prices in the next six weeks.
Rolling blackouts have occurred on six days in California since January; the last two came in May.