The California Energy Commission on Wednesday approved a natural gas-fired power plant in Huntington Beach.
The commission determined the plant would not cause “any substantial adverse environmental effects on nearby state, regional, county and city parks; and areas for wildlife protection.” The plant to be built at Pacific Coast Highway and Newland Street would create jobs and increase tax revenue, the commission concluded.
AES Southland Development proposed the plant to replace the AES Huntington Beach Generating Station. The plan calls for demolishing the existing plant and building the new one in phases, with the first unit to be completed in about 30 months.
The commission believes the new plant will be more efficient and emit less pollution. It would use air-cooled condensers, as opposed to those cooled with ocean water. Some environmentalists don’t like the idea of drawing ocean water for cooling, because creatures can be killed when they get sucked into intake lines.
“While located near Huntington Beach state park, the plant has been set back from the shoreline to permit reasonable public use and to protect scenic and aesthetic values,” the commission noted.
More than a thousand people opposed to the plant have signed a petition, asking AES to build elsewhere, according to Steve Wicke of the Los Angeles chapter of the Sierra Club.
“The last thing the air and shore of Huntington Beach and Greater Los Angeles need is another dirty fossil-fueled generating plant,” Wicke wrote. “It’s clear that our energy needs can be met reliably and affordably by more conservation and efficiency, energy storage and demand response and by cleaner resources such as solar.” Publicly traded AES, whose core business is producing electricity and distributing it, operates in about 20 countries.
— City News Service