Date of Mirant plant closure unchanged

Despite their persistent pleas to shut down the Mirant power plant in Potrero Hill in its entirety in 2010, residents and city officials who have been battling to close the heavily-polluting facility will have to remain patient, state regulators said this afternoon.

In August, Mirant had agreed to shut down the plant once the California Independent Systems Operator, or Cal-ISO, ruled that its energy supply was no longer needed, as part of a settlement announced by City Attorney Dennis Herrera. Two lawsuits filed by The City against Mirant would also be dropped as part of the agreement.

That settlement sparked hope that the plant would be fully shut down sometime early next year. However, Cal-ISO ruled last month that only a partial closure would be possible.

The main generator can be switched off when a new Transbay Cable connecting substations in Pittsburg and Potrero is completed, which is tentatively scheduled for February. But three diesel backup generators will need to remain operational throughout next year, the ruling said.

Local generation is needed in case of an earthquake, Cal-ISO said.

At a meeting today to finalize its plans for next year, the state agency reiterated its ruling despite another round of pleas from community members, clean-energy activists and city officials that the plant will not be needed following completion of the Transbay Cable.

Cal-ISO said it would not know for certain until the end of this year whether the plant would need to continue operating throughout 2010.

Yakout Mansour, the agency’s CEO, has made a commitment to Mayor Gavin Newsom and city officials that agency officials will do all they can to pull the plug on the plant sooner than later. http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/under-the-dome/Newsom-makes-case-for-swifter-Mirant-shutdown-59293247.html 

Advocates for the closure said they will continue to press Cal-ISO regarding the issue until the agency either allows for a swifter full plant closure or presents solid proof that the plant needs to stay open.
 

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