Portable power plants may come to Bay Area

The Associated Press
Monday October 02, 2000

FOLSOM — California has had a rough summer in terms of power consumption, with warm temperatures throughout the state causing consumers to crank up air conditioners, sapping electricity supplies. 

Now a partial solution may have been found for the San Francisco Bay area. 

Portable power plants could make their way to the region next year to help alleviate the demands for electricity that have plagued this area. A proposal by the California Independent System Operator calls for 440 mobile generators to beef up power production. 

The portable generators would be trucked into the region and used during periods of peak electricity consumption when weather temperatures rise. The units generate no more than 50 megawatts and would operate for 500 hours during the summer. 

One environmental group doesn’t like the proposal because the generators emit more pollution than larger ones under consideration. The search for power solutions is a quick fix at the expense of the environment, said Bradley Angel of Greenaction, an environmental group. 

“There should not be a mad rush to bring in polluting facilities,” he said. 

The larger units are powered by a jet turbine while the small generators use natural gas or diesel fuel.