The residents in Chula Vista fought a long, uphill battle against a new power plant planned in their town and they won!. Sunday, Feb 2nd, it’s going to be demolished, ‘imploded’ for good. Not being replaced with a “smaller, cleaner, more efficient” polluting behemoth that would have blighted their waterfront for 50 years, but 50 acres of park and open space with 50 acres of revenue generating uses for the city. Sound familiar?
They had no money when they started, they didn’t get sued and they didn’t file for bankruptcy. Imagine all that! Their pipe dream came true! I’m going to see it first hand with a live Tweet and photos to follow. See notice below from their Mayor, Cheryl Cox, who in a phone conversation with me last summer was stunned that I was the lone voice on the Council opposing a new power plant and that our Mayor & Council were not fighting AES tooth and nail, but wanted to “work with them” instead.
YES on A March 5th, or we’re going to get new power plant complete with 3 smoke stacks, power lines and a mixed-use development plant next to it instead.
Please pass this email, and all my emails until March 5th for that matter, to your Redondo friends.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am pleased to share the following information with you about the upcoming implosion of the South Bay Power Plant.
In a historic milestone for the Chula Vista bayfront, the obsolete South Bay Power Plant is scheduled to be imploded February 2, 2013, weather permitting – which will remove the mammoth structure and open up land that the Port of San Diego and the City of Chula Vista have designated for future public parks. The implosion is scheduled for 7 a.m., Saturday, February 2, 2013, weather and other conditions permitting.
A final decision on whether or not to proceed will be made that morning. The implosion will be carried out only under appropriate weather conditions, including wind speeds of 15 mph or less, as part of a comprehensive plan to protect air and water quality.
Details of the Port of San Diego’s public viewing event will be announced in the coming weeks. ”After a banner year for the bayfront in 2012, the implosion of the South Bay Power Plant is an event many Chula Vistans are looking forward to, and an excellent way to begin the new year,” said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox. “After the years of hard work that went into the approval of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, the plant’s removal will kick start redevelopment plans as we look forward to further progress on what will become a world-class destination for the entire region.” The implosion plan, which includes comprehensive measures to protect public safety, air and water quality, and the environment, is being carried out by the former plant operator, Dynegy South Bay LLC; and has been approved by the California Coastal Commission and the City of Chula Vista.
To protect the public, there will be a land and water perimeter set up to limit access around the site; details of its boundaries are being finalized. This dramatic demolition event will fulfill the promise that the Port of San Diego made 14 years ago when it acquired the plant with the goal of eventually removing it from the waterfront for the betterment of the San Diego region. Stakeholders worked for years to advocate for its removal, asking state regulators to determine it was no longer necessary for the region’s power supply. In October 2010, the California Independent System Operator determined that the plant could be taken out of service. The implosion is one visible indicator of Dynegy following through on its commitment to the Port and the City of Chula Vista to demolish the site upon the end of its useful life.
The South Bay Power Plant is a massive, 165-foot-tall structure with an open steel framework surrounding boilers and turbines. It has been on the bayfront since the late 1950s and was fully shut down at the end of 2010. Its main structure takes up around 13 acres on a 115-acre leasehold held by Port of San Diego tenant Dynegy South Bay LLC. “The removal of the South Bay Power Plant is a visual signal to the community of Chula Vista and the San Diego region that we are serious about bayfront redevelopment,” said Chair Ann Moore of the Board of Port Commissioners. “I am thrilled that we have finally set a date to bring down this huge industrial structure. I am even more pleased that we plan to replace it with a public park, as well as an RV park, that everyone will be able to enjoy.” Its removal is an essential step toward redeveloping formerly industrial bayfront land.
The power plant site is a portion of the award-winning Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, a shovel-ready land-use plan that will guide the transformation of more than 500 acres of waterfront property. Developed by the Port, the City of Chula Vista and property owner Pacifica Companies with extensive public input and approved by the California Coastal Commission in August 2012, the plan lays out a future world-class resort and conference destination, complemented by a mix of residential, retail, and more than 240 acres of parks and nature preserve. Under the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, the South Bay Power Plant site and its surrounding land will eventually be replaced with: ·
A future public park (24 acres) – A future RV park (14 acres) – A future Industrial Business Park (two parcels, totaling approximately 36 acres) – Buffer zone around western perimeter (25 acres)
The actual implosion event will take fewer than two minutes and will sound like rolling thunder with reverberations. A number of small, controlled explosive charges will be placed within the steel and concrete power block structure in order to bring it down. Heavy equipment will then be used to break up the structure. The project is expected to generate about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals and up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, which will be recycled and salvaged when feasible.
There should be no question left in anyone’s mind that the AES Redondo Beach power plant can be permanently retired. It’s all about time, political will and public opposition. It rarely operates now, and even if San Onofre never comes back online, with proper planning, Redondo can retire too! This is a State process, and once the policy is set it’s all about planning and time. But, if we don’t oppose it at every opportunity – pull every lever – we will get a new plant for another 50 years!
Last Wednesday, Dawn Esser and Lori Zeremski – two Redondo moms – took time off work, paid for the own air fare to Sacramento and joined me to testify at the California Energy Commission against a new AES Redondo power plant – see attached photo. Dawn and Lori were a breath of fresh air to the stuffy atmosphere of an Energy Commission meeting.
After the meeting, we spoke at length with an attorney for the CEC, their manager for the Redondo project, and their new public advisor. We then spoke with their Executive Director and the same senior policy analyst that told me almost two years ago now that there was capacity to permanently retire the Redondo power plant. They both agreed, independently, with the representative for the Independent System Operator who testified to at our City Council meeting last April, to paraphrase, “It’s critical we know sooner rather than later if Redondo is going to retire.” In short, they have the ability to retire it, and probably remove the power lines as well. What an unbelievable an opportunity we have!!!
The problem with Redondo is our Mayor & City Council failed to act over the years to rezone the site and send the clear message that they want the plant retired. They haven’t even passed a resolution officially opposing it. But as most of you know, the citizens crafted Measure A which will send the clear message to all the State agencies and our elected leaders, RETIRE REDONDO! YES on A!
Three other plants have retired on our coast, and the Redondo Beach plant is the poster child for a poorly sited, lousy location for voltage stability, not coastal dependent and not needed for long-term grid reliability in our area, old power plant that should be permanently retired.
The incessant fear mongering of our opponents that AES is stoking and funding goes something like this: “AES will sue us.” ”AES will walk away and leave the plant there if we don’t work with them to allow a new power plant.” ”Redondo has no money for a park.” ”They will build thousands of condos!”
Just to recap:
- The plant is not going to be cleaner, but increase dangerous, invisible particulate emissions 5-15 times!
- Anyone can sue for anything. Multiple land-use attorneys have said Measure A is legal, well-written and on firm legal ground. Three other plants have retired and those cities weren’t sued. We should not allow AES to intimidate us with lawsuits.
- AES is responsible to clean-up their mess whether they build a new plant or not. AND, they’ve said they expect to break-even on the clean-up due to all the scrap steel and re-usable equipment
- It’s illegal on several fronts for AES to walk away and leave their mess. And why would they? 50-acres of coastal land with 40% commercial zoning is worth plenty!
- They are not needed for grid reliability. It’s old and rarely operates, even with San Onofre down for a year! It’s all about policy and planning.
- The power lines may go! Senator Lieu is requesting the authorities answer that critical question
- Redondo will be under no obligation to purchase land and build and maintain a park because of Measure A. It’s AES land before and after.
- Measure A zoning limits development on the site to 40% commercial with at least 60% recreation and open space. NO residential development. How that open space is handled will be up to AES or the new land owners if they sell. If the public wants a public park, they can find a way to make it happen, just like Palos Verdes, Huntington Beach and every other community has.
- Measure A commercial zoning will increase revenue to the City. A 200-room hotel will return over $2 million in new revenue to the City just from the hotel taxes.
- The AES plan calls for a new plant WITH a mixed-use development around it. It’s all about profits to the mother ship in Virginia for them.
Thanks for reading this far.
YES on Measure A! This is our big chance.