As 2006 came to a close, the California Energy Commission added one small point of light in the state’s long-term quest for a brighter energy future.

On Dec. 14, 2006, the commission approved a license for a 160-megawatt expansion of an existing power plant at the Pastoria Energy Facility near Bakersfield, Calif.

The Pastoria Energy Facility Expansion will add one simple-cycle, natural gas-fired combustion turbine generator to the original three-unit, combined-cycle facility. When completed, the expansion will increase the licensed capacity for the entire facility from 750 MW to 910 MW.

The power plant will produce electricity during “peak use” times for the Southern California market, which will be conveyed through Southern California Edison’s (SCE’s) Pastoria Substation. The expansion is expected to be completed and operational by the year 2011.

The Energy Commission points to the Pastoria expansion as one of many small power plant exemptions that have been granted since California adopted energy deregulation in 1998. The commission has licensed or given exemptions to 56 power plants, totaling 23,210 MW. Thirty-six licensed power plants are in operation, producing 12,910 MW. Thirteen of these power plants—totaling 6,430 MW—have been approved during the tenure of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In addition, 14 power plant projects, representing 4,642 MW, are active in the Energy Commission’s review process.     EC