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March 13, 2007 > Residents protest proposed power plant

Residents protest proposed power plant

By Charlotte Flowers-Weston

Hayward residents packed City Hall Tuesday, March 6, anxious to speak their piece to the city council on the matter of a proposed 115-megawatt, gas-fired "peaking" power plant. Some carried or wore signs expressing their adamant opposition to locating another power plant in Hayward.

City Manager Jesus Armas introduced the plan to build the plant on Clawiter Road near its intersection with Depot Road. An existing building would be demolished to make room for the new plant. Armas stressed that a peaking plant is one that is only used during periods of high demand such as hotter summer months.

A representative of the East Shore Energy Center then sketched a few more details, describing plans to erect fourteen, 70-foot tall exhaust stacks located by the generator systems adjacent to the main building. Ammonia, a hazardous material, would be trucked to the site and stored in tanks, ready for use in the gas-burning process to reduce noxious oxide emissions.

East Shore also proposed installing approximately 1.1 miles of 115 kV transmission lines along Clawiter Road that would cross State Highway 92 and connect to the PG&E East Shore Substation.

The concern of many residents and council members was the close proximity to residential and educational facilities in the area, as well as nursing homes and childcare facilities. The nearest residence is only about 1,100 feet to the northeast, and the 293-unit Waterford Apartments complex is located 1,800 feet away.

Prior to the March 6 discussion, city planning commissioners had voiced much concern that the proposed power plant is not consistent with the purpose of an Industrial Zoning District and could result in a facility that could possibly be detrimental to public health, safety, or general welfare. The potential for air quality and hazardous materials impact related to the use and transport of aqueous ammonia and emission of particulate matter, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides was voiced.

A deadlocked Planning Commission vote left the city council without a recommendation. (Commissioners voted 3 - 3 with one abstention.) After hours of debate and public comment, council members agreed to hold this item over for the next city council meeting, Tuesday, March 13 at 8 p.m.

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