Green City's Dirty Power Plant to Close in 2010

Mirant facility to shut down after years of protests

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Aug 14, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM PDT
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Green City's Dirty Power Plant to Close in 2010

Robert Burns

Smoke will finally cease at the dirty, aging Mirant plant on San Francisco's waterfront which has long poisoned nearby neighborhoods.

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One of the most polluting power plants in the state, the Mirant plant at the base of San Francisco Potrero Hill along the waterfront, will finally be shuttered -- unless the state intervenes.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera anounced a settlement with Mirant yesterday that would include the gas-powered plant's closure.

However, state energy regulators can still block the settlement, but as part of the deal Mirant promises to work with the city to keep that from happening.

Also included is $1 million for community health projects -- residents in the area of the city downwind from the plant have a much higher incidence of asthma than elsewhere.

Besides releasing greenhouse gasses, the plant also warms San Francisco Bay's water as part of its cooling, killing vulnerable fish larvae.

The only other local obstacles to a closure are the Mayor and Board of Supervisors, but it's unlikely elected officials would stand up for the unpopular plant. The California Independent System Operator, a body which oversees energy transmission in the state, must approve the move.

The planned shutdown should be completed by the end of next year, after a new power transmission line from the East Bay is completed.

Photo by Robert Burns.

Jackson West supports building more nuclear power plants -- in Nevada.

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