SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The state Public Utilities Commission gave its unanimous blessing Wednesday to an energy purchase agreement that clears the way for construction of a 305-megawatt power plant in Otay Mesa.
The 5-0 vote by the CPUC approves a 25-year deal between San Diego Gas & Electric and the Pio Pico Energy Center.
Terms calls for the plant to be functional by Sept. 1 next year, with the flow of electricity to SDG&E starting in 2017. Until then, Pio Pico will be considered a merchant generator, selling on the wholesale market, CPUC President Michael Peevey said.
Peevey said the plant was "a critical piece to the puzzle" of replacing the retired San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
"The main point here is that this plant will provide 305 megawatts of needed capacity to one of the local areas impacted by the SONGS closure," Peevey said. "Our state needs this capacity to ensure public safety and economic prosperity."
A previous purchase agreement between the utility and power plant operators, with different terms, was rejected by the commission. Peevey said he urged them to return with a plan that fit the need to fill the nuclear void.
Environmentalists opposed the plant, contending the loss of supply from San Onofre should be filled by renewable sources.
"Now, SDG&E ratepayers in San Diego face financial and environmental burdens for at least the next 25 years, and all Californians will feel this ripple effect on our climate, our health and our economy," said San Ysidro resident Roddy Jerome, in a statement put out by the Environmental Health Coalition. "The worst part is, it doesn't have to be this way."
According to the coalition, the plant will create more pollution in the South Bay, put ratepayers on the hook for at least $1.6 billion and have a detrimental impact on climate change.
Sparks from a passing vehicle -- not an arsonist, as previously believed -- ignited a wildfire that spread over about 100 open acres this week near San Diego Zoo Safari Park, authorities reported Wednesday.
Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump's attacks on "fake news" Thursday with a coordinated series of editorials speaking up for a free and vigorous press.
Authorities identified a 12-year-old girl who was found dead in San Vicente Reservoir, five days after she fell from a boat.
San Diego County has agreed to settle a pair of lawsuits filed by twin boys who were molested by their former foster father.
San Diego police said Wednesday that no charges will be filed at this time against a man accused in the fatal shooting of a bar manager following a fight between two groups in the Gaslamp District.
Scattered thunderstorms in the mountains during the afternoon and evening hours Thursday. High pressure will move westward, moisture drying out but slightly warmer through the weekend.
Daryl Weathers remembers trying to pull men from the sea off Alaska's Aleutian Islands after a U.S. Navy destroyer hit a mine left by the Japanese following the only World War II battle fought on North American soil.
A passenger train struck and killed a pedestrian Wednesday on a stretch of tracks in the northern reaches of San Diego County.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of assaulting a traveler at San Ysidro Port of Entry last month.