Appeals Court Overturns PG&E Gas Plant Approval

TURN wins appeal of unneeded and overpriced PG&E plant

A state appeals court has sidetracked Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s plans for a new natural gas power plant in Oakley.

The 586-megawatt plant would have provided electricity for PG&E’s grid in Northern and Central California.

The company initially proposed to complete construction by June 2014, but the California Public Utilities Commission rejected the proposal, saying it exceeded PG&E’s demonstrated needs for 2014.

Five months later, the commission endorsed an amended proposal to bring the Oakley plant on line in June 2016. Commissioners said power needs would increase in two years, the clean-burning fuel would emit few greenhouse gases, and PG&E’s financing might dry up if approval were delayed.

The Utility Reform Network, or TURN, opposed the vote, arguing the commission had expanded the scope of its earlier decision without giving the consumer group a chance to pursue additional evidence or present its findings.

The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco agreed Friday and set the approval aside in a 3-0 ruling.