- Environmental group Earthjustice filed a motion with the California Energy Commission to dismiss the application for Calpine's proposed 255-MW Mission Rock Energy Center and terminate the proceeding instead of to granting a three-year suspension that would keep hope for the plant alive.
- Calpine has requested the California Energy Commission suspend its application, citing a lack of energy demand and changes to state policies.
- Lawyers for Earthjustice, however, say "there is no way that the applicant’s project will be selected" to meet local needs and therefore the proposal should be terminated. If that happens, Calpine's project would follow a clear trend of gas-fired plants falling to preferred resources.
The request for offers published by Southern California Edison did not look to gas plants to meet local reliability in the Moorpark Subarea, leading Calpine to conclude it "does not appear to present an opportunity" for the proposed gas plant.
Calpine initially asked for an open-ended suspension, but pressed by regulators, Greentech Media reports the company asked to put the plant on hold until whatever resources are ultimately chosen by SCE are constructed and operating.
The generation SCE is looking to replace — 2,000 MW of older once-through generation — is not needed until 2021, meaning a potential three-year freeze on Calpine's application. Attorneys for Earthjustice argue that the writing is on the wall for Calpine, the Mission Rock plant and fossil fuels in the state.
"As has been clear for some time, there is no way that the applicant’s project will be selected by SCE nor is it even eligible to bid in to the RFO," the group said in its CEC filing. "There is no uncertainty as to whether there is an 'opportunity for the Mission Rock Energy Center' to participate in SCE’s RFO—there is none."
Similarly, NRG Energy's proposed Puente Gas Plant is also in danger, as SoCal Edison reconsiders its needs and looks to preferred resources. NRG Energy also plans to shutter three gas plants in the state, including the Etiwanda, Ormond Beach and Ellwood plants.
Calpine cites changes to California's energy policy in its plea for a suspension. Earthjustice acknowledged Calpine's concerns over changing policy, noting that those changes will not likely benefit the energy company in the long term.
"It seems very unlikely that outcomes there will revive California’s desire to build new gas-fired power plants," the group wrote. "Indeed, the movement away from fossil-fueled power plants and the search for alternatives has only accelerated."