RIVERSIDE – Fees paid by Competitive Power Ventures for its natural-gas-fired Sentinel power plant, now under construction just west of Desert Hot Springs, will fund $53 million worth of pollution reduction efforts around the Coachella Valley.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District approved a request for proposals Friday.
”Keeping 100 percent of the Sentinel air-pollution mitigation funds in the Coachella Valley is the right thing to do,” said Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit, also a AQMD board member. ”These mitigation funds now present a unique opportunity, exclusively within the Coachella Valley, to improve our air quality.”
Over the next four months, AQMD staffers will hold public hearings and workshops for community groups and others with proposals for spending the money.
Legislation requires 30 percent of the money to be spent on projects in ”environmental justice” areas; 30 percent on projects near the Sentinel plant, which is on 37 acres next to Southern California Edison’s Devers substation north of Interstate 10 and east of Highway 62; and the remaining 40 percent on emission-reduction projects to be determined by the AQMD, according to the regional air-quality agency.
After Wednesday, request for proposal forms will be available at www.aqmd.gov, and the deadline for submissions is June 8 at 5 p.m.
The mitigation money might be used for projects ranging from renewable energy generation and paving dirt roads to replacing or retrofitting older, heavy-duty diesel vehicles with new-generation motors, or installing electric- vehicle charging stations.
Silver Spring, Md.-based CPV will jointly own the Sentinel plant with General Electric Energy Financial Services and Los Angeles-based Diamond Generating Corp., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp.
CPV anticipates its $900 million Sentinel plant will produce power 15-30 percent of the time each year — only when needed to supplement existing supplies. Natural-gas-fired, GE turbines will do the work, and Sentinel’s generating capacity will be about 800 mW — enough power for about 640,000 homes or to electrify the entire Coachella Valley in an emergency, according to Sentinel.
The plant should create 14 permanent jobs, according to CPV.