AOPA, energy commissioner agree power plant poses hazard

July 31, 2008

AOPA is supporting a recommendation that the California Energy Commission deny certification to a proposed power plant near Hayward Executive Airport on the grounds that it would pose a significant hazard to aviation.

AOPA has long opposed construction of the Eastshore Energy Plant, which would be located adjacent to the downwind departure route for Runway 10R/28L at Hayward Executive, an important general aviation reliever airport for the San Francisco area. In addition, the power plant’s location directly under the extremely congested airspace for Oakland International Airport would give pilots flying into and out of Hayward nowhere to go to avoid the power plant’s plumes.

At least one member of the California Energy Commission agrees with that assessment. In a document known as the Presiding Member’s Proposed Decision, Commissioner Jeffrey Byron recommends denying certification to the power plant because of the hazard it poses to aircraft.

In a July 28 letter to the commission, AOPA expressed support for that recommendation, reminding the panel that the proposed power plant does not comply with California airport land-use guidelines and urging commissioners to deny the necessary certification for its construction.

“We’re pleased that the presiding member is taking the concerns of the aviation community so seriously, and we hope the full commission will accept his recommendation,” said John Collins, AOPA senior liaison for airports.

But the Eastshore Energy Plant isn’t the only threat facing Hayward Executive. A second power plant has also been proposed less than two miles from the airport. In a June 30 letter, AOPA asked the California Energy Commission to suspend future construction on that plant and to conduct an evaluation of the combined impact of the two proposed energy plants.