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School Board Passes Resolution on Proposed AES Power Plant

The School Board votes to oppose the new power plant unless the new plant meets three requirements.

Last night the Redondo Beach School Board passed a resolution opposing a new power plant unless their specified conditions were met. The conditions are:

  1. The power plant meets all state and federal clean air requirements
  2. The power plant uses the best available air pollution control technology
  3. The power from this plant is a critical necessity to the operation of the school


The first two conditions will be met. But unless the California Energy Commission does a power needs assessment, it will have no way of determining the answer whether power from this site is critical. The CEC is not required to do a power needs assessment unless the power plant would violate city zoning ordinances. 

While the School Board resolution does not take any position on Measure A, Measure A is the only way we can force the CEC to do a needs assessment. This is written in the City Attorney’s impartial analysis of Measure A: 

“However, if approved, Measure A would require the CEC to meet more stringent requirements before certifying a new power plant. Specifically, the CEC may not certify a power plant that does not conform with any applicable local ordinances or laws, unless the commission determines that the facility is required for public convenience and necessity and that there are not more prudent and feasible means of achieving public convenience and necessity.”

So unless Measure A passes, it is doutful we will ever know if the School Board’s thrid criteria is met. Nonetheless, the resolution does send a solid message to the CEC…more than our Council has done in over two years. We applaud this action by the School Board.

One member of the pro-AES group stated that the RUHS cross country team runs by the plant and they are all healthy. I guess if they don’t immediately keel over and suffocate, this guy doesn’t think it impacts kids’ health. He must think cigarette smoking is okay too. 

Board Member Todd Loewenstein challenged power plant proponents to google "children's health" and "particulate pollution" to learn what he did about the devastating impacts of particulate pollution on children. 

AES Southland President Eric Pendergraft falsely accused AES opponents of comparing pollution from the current plant’s 5 percent run rate to the new plant’s 100 percent run rate. This statement is absolutely false. We have compared the new plant’s particulate pollution at 25 percent to 72.7 percent run rates to the current plant pollution to the current plant’s annual pollution. The pollution numbers we use are from AES’ submission to the CEC. The lower run rate, 25 percent, is the low-end run rate that AES submitted in a letter to the City Council. The 72.7 percent run rate is in the AES application to the CEC as their maximum run rate. So we have compared the pollution from the current plant to the pollution the new plant would produce at the ranges AES has submitted to officials.

Pendergraft now claims the plant will only run at 20 percent, further lowering the rate that AES submitted in a letter to the City Council. He stated the new plant will run as clean at 20 percent as the current plant does at 5 percent. But, the numbers they turned into the CEC tell a different story. At 72.7 percent run rate, the AES application shows the new plant would produce 49.7 tons of particulate pollution per year. That equates to 13.6 tons per year at a 20 percent run rate.  AES’ application shows the current plant produces 3.3 tons of particulate pollution per year. Even at this lower run rate, the new plant would produce 4x the pollution the current plant produces. 

Of course the bigger question is, if the plant runs at just 20 percent, do we need it? The answer is no. That load could easily be picked up by any of the new power plants coming on line this year: El Segundo, Walnut Creek, or Sentinel, which combined will at 1,900MW of new power generation to our part of the grid.

Four of the five board members voted for the resolution, with Jane Diehl voting against it. Again, we applaud the action by the School Board.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Light February 02, 2013 at 04:36 AM
Fair enough, but it's not my first run in with Jane. Actually, when I first started writing, the Patch editor at the time offered to pay me for articles. But I told her it would not be appropriate as I had an opinion on the subject and intended to justify my opinion.
Jeff Melodia February 02, 2013 at 04:47 AM
Hey now. My foot can't reach my mouth. Maybe I should try yoga. Thanks for letting me know the trick of clicking on a name to see the posts. Cool. I just like to try to keep things friendly. Don't always succeed . I can still disagree with your views on a subject but respect them at the same time. And being new to this forum, I thank you for your patience.
Jim Light February 02, 2013 at 05:30 AM
No worries. I can get pretty passionate about the topic, and I appreciate your feedback. It helps recage my gyros.
Nicole Mooradian February 02, 2013 at 07:33 AM
Hi Jane, Anyone and everyone is free to blog in the Local Voices section of Patch. Just go to http://redondobeach.patch.com/blog/apply and click "Post on Patch." Posts that are well-written and meet Patch's criteria are often featured on the front page.
Kelly Sarkisian February 02, 2013 at 08:21 AM
Jane, this isn't for you. This is for Mr Light to do as he pleases. Patch is overrun with Lights and the like. It's too bad, it used to be a decent source for news. It's now boiled down to The Light Version of Patch. Nicole, please take your site back! The NPP people write more here than you do!

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