PG&E is inviting the public to a meeting to learn more about the Kern Power Plant demolition and site cleanup.

The meeting is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Columbia Elementary School, 703 Mondavi Way in northwest Bakersfield.

Invitations were mailed to residents in the immediate vicinity of the plant, but anyone is welcome to attend, said PG&E spokeswoman Katie Harlan Allen.

"We're committed to continued open dialogue with the community throughout the process of dismantling the plant and cleaning up the property, so this is a great opportunity to continue that open dialogue," Allen said.

Plans are to have all of the above-ground structures at the plant cleared by spring 2013, but years of analysis and remediation will continue to address possible environmental contamination below ground, Allen said..

"Of course our ultimate goal is for the site to become compatible with the surrounding uses and become an asset to that neighborhood," she said.

Kern Power Plant began commercial operation in 1948, but was shut down and placed on stand-by status in 1985. It closed permanently in 1995 after PG&E determined the cost of bringing the aging facility up to contemporary standards was prohibitive.

In its heyday, the plant was used to heat water with natural gas or fuel oil to produce high-pressure steam. That steam was used to spin turbines that generated electricity.

Representatives of demolition contractor Cleveland Wrecking will be available at Tuesday's meeting to answer questions concerning the demolition portion of the multi-year, multi-phase project. PG&E also will have people on hand to discuss environmental remediation and future use of the land.

The utility also has established a Kern Power Plant Hotline at (661) 321-4467. You can also email questions to