SAN JOSE, CA-A report issued this week by city planners says a natural gas-fired power plant is not the right use of land in North Coyote Valley. The report is being reviewed by the San Jose Planning Commission, which is scheduled later this week to make a recommendation to the City Council on the Metcalf Energy Center, a 600-megawatt, natural gas-fired power plant proposed by Calpine Corp. and partner Bechtel Enterprises.

Calpine Corp. and Bechtel say the facility is a sensible answer to Silicon Valley’s increasing power shortages, which are becoming more common. From Monday through Wednesday this week, the state of California declared electrical emergencies due to generator problems and an unexpected cold snap. Silicon Valley’s heightened high-tech presence and increasing dependence on being “wired” worsens the problem, which is why state analysts are even siding with the would-be developers.

Nonetheless, the planners’ report determines that Calpine’s plant is “clearly not what was envisioned for (North Coyote Valley).” It says the heavy-industrial nature of the power plant would be “inharmonious” with the area’s planned light-industrial use, such as the 20,000-worker campus the city recently approved for its biggest employer, Cisco Systems.

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