The California Public Utilities Commission denied San Diego Gas & Electric permission to enter purchase agreements involving two proposed peaker power plants in San Diego County, one next to Santee and the other in Otay Mesa.

The CPUC gave approval to a 25-year contract involving an existing power plant in Escondido, according to the CPUC.

The agreements were denied because there wasn’t sufficient evidence the region needed additional capacity until 2018, the CPUC said.

The state agency directed SDG&E to procure up to 298 megawatts of local generation beginning in 2018.

Both the Quail Brush Power plant near state Route 52 and Mission Trails Park, and the Pio Pico Energy Center in Otay Mesa were opposed by environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Environmental Health Coalition, as well as local residents who said the new power plants would damage sensitive habitats and were contrary to the company’s stated goals of seeking energy from alternative sources such as solar and wind.

The CPUC said it didn’t want to get into a possibility of charging area ratepayers for power generation that as yet is not needed.

“The CPUC found the timing mismatch ultimately to be unreasonable to ratepayers,” stated the agency in a prepared statement.

— SDBJ Staff Report