Current Peaker Plant


        The current peaker plant was approved on September 26, 2000 by the Chula Vista city council. They essentially took a $30,000 bribe. $20,000 for a solar system for a city building. It was supposed to go on the Otay Recreation Center, but was put somewhere else. The $10,000 was for technical assistance with the solar. There was no other benefit to the city. This is from the staff report: PAGE 3 ITEM NO 4 MEETING DATE 9/26/00 Nature of the Proiect

The proposed Peak Load Power Plant is an electrical power generation plant powered by natural

gas The plant has a 459 megawatt maximum electricity generation capacity and the County Air Pollution Control District has lirnited the plant to4800 hours per year of operation and no more than 16 hours on any given day Peak Load plants are designed to produce and sell electrical power during periods of high demand when electricity prices are high enough to support their relatively high operating costs The plant is not designed to provide large amounts of low cost power However by producing additional electricity at peak load periods the plant does serve to enhance local grid system reliability During periods of low demand peak load plants typically do not operate as it is not economically advantageous to do so.

 If the goal of the Council is to provide low cost reliable electrical supply to the community a peaker plant designed to produce electricity at relatively high costs to sell at the highest possible rates during peak periods will not produce the solution Council is seeking. The project is also limited in its ability to sell electricity directly to the City or other end users.

        The city does receive Utility tax money which was estimated to be from $60,000 to $120,000. It never reached this amount. It was expected this plant would run 1500 hours a year. The first year it ran very often, but when the city rejected in 2001 another plant on the site PG&E, which declared bankcrupcy, mothballed the plant. Recently it ran around 120 hours last year. The Redevelopment Agency was supposed to recieve tax increment of $56,000 per year. (If you look at the information in Issue One you will see that all the tax increment for the southwest for the last 17 years has gone to debt service and salaries, except for $500,000 to widen Main Street and $300,000 to widen Palomar. ) It actually only recieves $9,800 per year, after pass-throughs. Essentially the money received from this peaker has not been sufficent to pay the salary and benefits of one average employee.

        At the time the peaker was approved the lot it is on was vacant and it was surrounded by junk yards. Now there are two upscale industrial/commercial buildings 23 feet (the distance of a driveway) from the property line of this peaker. This puts over 200 hundred employees very close to 12,000 gallons of ammonia and several thousand gallons of oil as well as high pressure natural gas lines. The noise from this equipment is more than 100 decibels. They are supposed to be suppressing the noise, but they are not getting it down to even 70 decibels at their property line. They are also supposed to be keeping the Nox emisions to 5ppm.

        On page 4-36 it states that Major overhauls of the turbine generators and pollution control equipment would occur every two years and require 2 to 3 weeks to complete by a crew of 10 to 15 technicians. This apparently has never occurred so this plant is not operating under the agreed upon conditions.


        Noise From the stationary mechanical equipment will come from five dominant sources:

1.The two separate engine air intakes and single turbine exhaust. This is estimated to be 140 dBa.

2. Direct noise radiation from the equipment is estimated to be a

maximum of105 to 115 dAB.

3. The high pressure reciprocating natural gas compressor is estimated to operate at 100 dBAat a distance of10 feet from the unit.

4. The high volume air blower for generator cooling is estimated it to operate at 100dAB at intake and

exhaust openings.

5. Noise data for the absorption chillers and pumps to be located inside the turbine enclosure is not cuITently available The manufacturer will supply sound data at the time ofunit specification

The stationary equipment could produce noise as high as 130 dBa at the property line.


        We took this video in December of 2007. The camera shows the pollution as a distortion. We are going to try to borrow a better camera to shoot a sharper video because we could see the steam with pollutants on the ground and the wall of the building next door. The camera filters out background noise so inside it is hard to hear the whine from the plant, but it is very clear and very annoying to the human ear:

The residents who are 350 feet to the west of the plant now have an industial building between them and the peaker. This makes it impossible to sort out the noise of the peaker from the business noise during the day. The residents hear the peaker only when it runs at night.

The Design Review, Resource Conservation Committee, and the Planning Commission never discussed the closeness of the residents. The residents unfortunately did not complain, because they did not understand what was going on.

You can read the entire packet of information that went to the Redevelopment Agency when they approved this peaker by clicking here.