The California Energy Commission (CEC) has the exclusive authority to certify all thermal power plants (50 megawatts [MW] and greater) and related facilities proposed for construction in California. The SPPE process allows applicants with facilities between 50 and 100 MW to obtain an exemption from CEC’s jurisdiction and proceed with local permitting rather than requiring CEC certification. CEC can grant an exemption if it finds that the proposed facility would not create a substantial adverse impact on the environment or energy resources. Public Resources Code section
25519(c) designates CEC as the lead agency, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), for all facilities seeking an SPPE. SV1, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Equinix, LLC (SV1 or applicant) filed an application with the CEC seeking an exemption from the CEC’s jurisdiction (Small Power
Plant Exemption, or SPPE) for the Great Oaks South Backup Generating Facility (GOSBGF) (20-SPPE-01). The GOSBGF would be part of the Great Oaks South Data Center (GOSDC) to be located in the City of San Jose. The project was approved by the city on February 1, 2017 but was not constructed. Since its approval, SV1, LLC has made project design changes and is now seeking approval of an SPPE for the GOSBGF. The GOSDC would consist of three 182,350 square foot, two-story data center buildings. The project site is approximately 18-acres in size. The GOSBGF would consist of 36 3.25-MW diesel-fired generators in six generation yards that would each be separately electrically interconnected to the three data center buildings. The GOSBGF would be used exclusively to provide backup generation and uninterruptible power supply for the GOSDC, and other than for routine maintenance and testing, would only operate in the event of a failure of the electrical service from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to the data center. In addition, the GOSBGF would include three life safety diesel fired generators, each capable of generating 0.50 MW. GOSBGF would have a generating capacity of up to 99.0 MW.
The GOSDC would connect to a new PG&E substation via five new 21 kilovolt (kV)
distribution feeders that would extend underground either along Via Del Oro or along
Great Oaks Boulevard, or via both routes to the project site. The California Public Utilities Commission has granted PG&E approval to construct the new substation, which is called the “Santa Teresa Substation”.