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July 22, 2005


Central California's newest electrical energy generating facility was dedicated this morning (July 22) by Kings River Conservation District leaders who noted the importance of KRCD Power's Malaga Peaking Plant to everyone in the San Joaquin Valley.

"Here we are, ready to launch a new era in San Joaquin Valley electrical energy generation and supply," said KRCD General Manager David Orth, who made the dedication address to an invited audience gathered on the new plant's grounds. "This plant plays a key part in securing this region's energy future by addressing power reliability by adding new power generation," said Orth.

Orth termed the 97-megawatt plant, which will generate enough electricity to serve 97,000 valley homes, "a perfect addition to KRCD's energy portfolio, one that will become even more valuable in the years ahead as it serves many thousands of valley power customers."

The plant is in the final phases of testing and is expected to enter commercial operation by early August.

KRCD President Ceil Howe of Stratford said, "This new power plant is one step in the right direction. It is a step that KRCD is proud to be taking."

Howe termed the plant "a tremendous achievement and the addition of a critically important resource that will benefit everyone in the central San Joaquin Valley."

The plant took only ten months to construct and the entire project consumed just 2 years from the time it was proposed in December 2002 until today's dedication.

"It is an accomplishment of which we are all mighty proud and demonstrates that much-needed public works projects need not take seemingly forever when all concerned are filled with will and passion to make it happen," said Howe.

"This new peaking power plant-a project put together in an incredibly short time-shows first hand the we-can-do-it attitude that has always been part of the Kings River Conservation District," Orth said. "It's why KRCD is not only a good steward of the river but of all valley resources as well."

Assembly member Juan Arambula of Fresno, Assembly member Mike Villines of Clovis, and Peter Garris, Deputy Director, California Energy Resources Scheduling, also spoke.

The natural gas-fired plant, located on North Avenue between Chestnut and Maple avenues in Malaga on the south side of Fresno, will be called upon by California's Independent System Operator to meet peak energy demands, such as have been occurring each day as valley temperatures have soared into triple digits. The plant is state-of-the-art and contains the latest air pollution control technology and meets all air quality permit standards.

The contract for engineering, procurement and construction was carried out by BMZ, a joint venture comprised of two firms, Barton Malow of Michigan and Zachary Construction of Texas. Final project cost is approximately $42 million.

State officials in December 2002 offered a pair of peaking generating units to KRCD to help combat energy generation shortfalls. KRCD and the California Department of Water Resources in December 2002 signed an agreement for the plant (that was later renegotiated to cover several details). The two gas-fired units were among six sets received by the State of California under a settlement with Williams Energy with four other units going to San Francisco.

During the 10 years following the start of commercial service, the Department of Water Resources is to purchase energy produced by the plant and pay its fixed and variable costs, including debt service. KRCD will have to keep the plant ready for operation whenever ordered to meet peak power needs. KRCD Power could fully acquire the project within five years, a factor that is potentially of great importance to KRCD, 11 valley cities and Kings County. Those agencies are seeking to establish a Community Choice power program that would include a new valley base-load power plant to help meet the region's future energy needs.

"KRCD wants to make positive improvements that benefit our residents and businesses alike with increased power reliability," Orth said.

KRCD Power already operates the Pine Flat-Jeff L. Taylor Power Plant. That 165-megawatt hydroelectric facility is now in its 21st year of operation at the base of Pine Flat Dam. It also helps meet the valley's electrical energy needs by adding crucial value to the region's power system. Power produced at Pine Flat is distributed and used in the power-short Fresno area. (Equivalent amounts of energy are delivered elsewhere to the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Project, which buy all energy produced at Pine Flat.)

The Kings River Conservation District is a public agency that has effectively served agricultural, business, and community residents within 1.2 million acres in portions of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties since 1951. KRCD is a leading resource management agency, known for its efficiency and innovation. KRCD is a recognized leader in power, environmental resources studies and water management (including flood control), on-farm water management, water quality efforts and groundwater management.