PG&E Corporation's Harquahala Plant Receives Unanimous Approval Of Environmental Compatibility Certificate


PHOENIX, Ariz. - PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG) today lauded the Arizona Corporation Commission's unanimous approval of a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility for the Harquahala Generating Project, a 1,040-megawatt natural gas fired electric generating merchant power plant in western Maricopa County.

"We are pleased that the Arizona Corporation Commission has recognized the benefits of clean, cost-competitive energy in the region as well as our company's commitment to operating the facility with the utmost attention to environmental standards," said Thomas B. King, president and chief operating officer, West Region, of PG&E Corporation's National Energy Group.

The Commission's vote re-affirms the recommendation made in April of this year by its Transmission Line and Power Plant Siting Committee, which overwhelmingly supported approval of the Certificate. This approval came after an exhaustive review of the environmental impacts and issues related to reliability.

As a condition of the Certificate, Harquahala Generating has agreed to use Central Arizona Project (CAP) water as its preferable source of water for the operation of the plant. If groundwater is needed, the Project will follow the same requirements for siting and permitting supply wells as if it were located in an area with restricted groundwater resources. King noted that these requirements are much more stringent than normally required in the Harquahala Valley, an area with extensive groundwater supplies.

The Project will use a zero liquid discharge system, to minimize water consumption and the creation of wastewater. This system treats and recycles the water more than 130 times. Harquahala Generating also will minimize visual impacts through reduced lighting, color schemes, and moderate stack heights, as well as visually screen the plant with an approved landscaping plan.

Several residents from Harquahala Valley testified in support of the Project. Elisa Bigbey, long-time resident and a member of the Arlington School District told commissioners, "I have been asked to represent many of the residents in Harquahala who have endorsed the project but could not be here." She submitted signed petitions from more than 100 community members who support the electric generating facility, and asked directly for the Commissioners' approval of the Certificate.

The Harquahala Generating Project is expected to generate about $8 to $10 million annually in local property taxes. An average of 340 construction jobs will be created during the two-year construction period, and when complete, the facility will employ about 35 full-time employees.

PG&E Corporation, with 1999 revenues of almost $21 billion and operations in 21 states, markets energy services and products throughout North America through its National Energy Group. PG&E Corporation's businesses also include Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the Northern and Central California utility that deliver natural gas and electricity to one in every 20 Americans.


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