The Mirant power plant in San Francisco’s Potrero neighborhood could close at the end of 2010 if legislators and public utility regulators approve a new agreement between City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Mirant Corp.

City officials have been trying for years to close the San Francisco Bay waterfront plant, which is blamed for high levels of pollution and elevated health problems in one of the city’s economically disadvantaged areas.

Herrera announced the agreement this morning, saying the company must permanently close the plant by the end of 2010, actively push for the plant’s closure if state or federal regulators try to delay it, and pay $1 million to the city to help address pediatric asthma in nearby communities.

In exchange, the city attorney’s office agreed to drop all outstanding litigation against Mirant and not interfere with water permits through 2010.

Additionally, if the plant site is approved for redevelopment, Mirant will receive expedited review if they propose a project. There will be no commitment to choose their project, though, Herrera said.

“This is the dirtiest and most polluting plant in the state,” Herrera said. “Closing it will ultimately make San Francisco greener, cleaner and healthier.”

The California Independent System Operator oversees power and transmission in the state of California, and before the Mirant plant closes, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission must demonstrate that San Francisco can generate enough power without it.

The plant generates about 200 megawatts of the city’s 900-megawatt base demand, according to SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington, who was also at the news conference.

Cal ISO has had reservations about closing the Mirant plant in the past for this reason, but Harrington believes new measures that will be in place by the end of 2010 – including a transbay cable – will offset the loss.

As part of the agreement, Mirant Corp. must help the City convince Cal ISO that its energy services are not needed in San Francisco.

The Board of Supervisors must also sign off on the agreement, and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell announced at the news conference that she will introduce legislation to do so at next week’s meeting.

“It’s been a long haul,” she said of the effort to close the plant, which officials say has lasted a decade.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!