We were recently notified by representatives of Radback that PG&E had terminated their agreement to purchase the Oakley Generating Station. At this time we are uncertain about a power plant in Oakley and which, if any, options Radback may pursue.
This has been a long and somewhat tortuous process that provided enough ups and downs, twists and turns to cause motion sickness in the most seaworthy of us. It all started in 2009 when Radback Energy applied to the California Public Utilities Commission (CUPC) for permission to construct a new 586-megawatt natural gas-fired power generation facility on a portion of the former DuPont property in Oakley to begin operations in 2014. When completed the power plant would be sold to PG&E. In July of 2010 this initial application was denied because the CPUC determined that PG&E had no need for additional capacity in 2014.
On August 23, 2010, PG&E filed a Petition for Modification (PFM). The PFM stated that changed circumstances support modifying the decision to approve a revised Oakley Project. PG&E and Contra Costa Generating Station LLC (Radback) had re-negotiated the project purchase and sale agreement. Under the amended agreement PG&E may not take ownership of the plant prior to June of 2016. The date for ownership in the previous agreement was June of 2014. With a 4-1 vote for project the CPUC determined that the Oakley project will help mitigate the risk of any capacity shortfall in 2016.
That decision was overturned by the Superior Court of California in March 2012 because it violated proper procedure. In the same month, PG&E resubmitted the Oakley project to the CPUC in the proper Application process to begin operations in 2016.
Meanwhile Radback had broken ground on the 22 acre site on the DuPont property. The construction project was expected to create 700 union jobs during construction. These jobs could provide a boon to local stores, hotels, restaurants and other merchants, when completed the facility will be staffed with 20 employees. The project enjoyed a tremendous level of support, from Oakley’s citizens, from the labor unions, and from electeds at the city, county, state and federal levels.
Back in front of the CPUC for the third time with PG&E’s resubmitted plan in August of 2012 hearings began again. In December 2012, the CPUC adopted the a proposal made by Board President Michael Peevey granting PG&E’s request to fund the Oakley power plant.
On February 5, 2014 the California Court of Appeals overturned the CPUC’s December 2012 decision approving the Oakley Power Plant finding that need for the plant is unsupported by evidence since the CPUC relied solely on uncorroborated hearsay to support its decision. This decision allowed PG&E to terminate their agreement with Radback if CPUC approval was not granted before July 1, 2014. On October 15, PG&E notified Radback they were terminating the contract.
What options are available to Radback, aside from finding a third party energy provider, I don’t know. What’s the long term future of a power plant in Oakley, I don’t know.