Bay Area power plant gives Valley Air District $644K to cut pollution in north Valley

The owner of a Bay Area power plant fulfilled a commitment to help offset emissions in the Valley air basin today by providing the Valley Air District a check for $644,503, to be used for pollution-reduction projects in the north Valley. Mariposa Energy, LLC, the owner/operator of the Mariposa Power Plant in Alameda County, reached the agreement with the Air District in 2009. Although the simple cycle peaker power plant is located just outside the San Joaquin County line in the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, expected emissions from the plant may produce local impacts in the San Joaquin Valley air basin’s northwest area. The funds will be used to support clean-air projects in the San Joaquin Valley to offset this potential local impact. “We are delighted with the desire of Mariposa Energy to be a good neighbor to San Joaquin, even though it is under the jurisdiction of another air quality management district,” said Leroy Ornellas, San Joaquin County Supervisor and a Governing Board member of the Air District. “We do believe in being good neighbors and in building the cleanest, most environmentally sensitive projects we can,” said Mariposa President Yasuyuki Asakura. “As air emissions do not respect county borders, we approached this issue from a regional basis and reached out to San Joaquin. We’re happy to help our neighbors to the east with their air quality issues.” The plant, which will be operated on an “on call” basis during hours of peak power consumption as determined by the California Independent Systems Operator, is seven miles northeast of Tracy and 2.5 miles west of Mountain House in San Joaquin County. Potential emissions from the plant, which will begin operation in the third quarter of 2012, include nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter, all of which are pollutants of concern in the Valley. Similar to past emission reduction incentive programs sponsored by the Air District, the funds from this agreement will be used to the extent possible to support clean-air projects near Mountain House and Tracy, including replacement and retrofitting of heavy duty diesel engines and electrification of agricultural pump engines. “Because of the unique characteristics of pollution in the Valley, we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that pollution from source outside the Valley do not impose added burden to the Valley residents and businesses,” said Seyed Sadredin, the Air District’s air pollution control officer and executive director, in a news release.