Another blow for California gas — judge rejects proposed pipeline
- California regulators will vote this summer on a proposal to reject a 47 mile, $639 million pipeline that San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGa) want to construct.
- A proposed decision issued by an administrative law judge at the California Public Utilities Commission concludes the utilities have not demonstrated a need for the pipeline, and orders the companies to consider more modest supply options.
- If commissioners reject the project, it would be the latest in a string of losses for natural gas resources in the state. In March, Calpine withdrew an application for a new gas plant in the state, and a municipal utility in Glendale, Calif., recently scrapped plans for a gas generation project.
Gas projects are on the retreat in California, according to environmental activists who say the state no longer needs to invest in fossil fuels. And a series of recent decisions, along with this latest proposed pipeline denial, appears to bear that out.
“First gas plants, and now gas pipelines are falling to the wayside," Earthjustice staff attorney Matt Vespa said in a statement. "California is clearly on a path to a brighter energy future, and doesn’t have time or money to spare investing in outdated fossil fuel infrastructure."
The group said the pipeline would have cost customers $2 billion over the next 45 years.
The proposed 36-inch line would move gas from the Rainbow Metering Station in Rainbow, Calif., to land within Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The ALJ's proposed decision concludes "applicants have failed to
demonstrate that there is a need" for the proposed line, and the additional 200 million cubic feet/day of capacity "cannot be justified on the basis of meeting a relatively small deficit of 25 MMcfd or providing overall benefits to ratepayers. "
Regulators could vote on the proposal at the CPUC's June 21 meeting.
Calpine's decision to step back from its proposed 255-MW Mission Rock Energy Center is the most high-profile defeat for a gas project in the state, but there have been others. The Glendale, Calif., City Council in April voted 4-1 to put a gas generation project for its municipal utility on hold, instead looking to renewables and storage.
NRG Energy's Puente Gas Plant proposal is also in danger, as SoCal Edison reconsiders its needs. NRG Energy also plans to shutter three gas plants in the state, including the Etiwanda, Ormond Beach and Ellwood plants.
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