AES power plants to remain open a little longer

State Water Board says the plant in Redondo Beach won’t close until 2021; Huntington Beach allowed to stay operational until 2023.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA—Two Southern California power plants, both located near recreational boating harbors, were set to close by the end of 2020. Both of those plants will be allowed to stick around for a little longer, members of the State Water Resources Control Board voted on Sept. 1.

The AES power plant in Redondo Beach, which is located across the street from King Harbor, was given a new deadline of Dec. 31, 2021, to be compliant with a state mandate to reduce the harmful effects of the plant’s cooling water intake structures on marine and estuarine life.

Huntington Beach’s AES plant was given a similar extension to meet the state-mandated compliance; the deadline Huntington Beach’s plant is Dec. 31, 2023.

The city of Redondo Beach has been trying to develop a plan to repurpose the AES power plant across from King Harbor. Repurposing the plant property is part of a larger plan to revitalize the entire King Harbor area. The AES plant in Huntington Beach, meanwhile, could be converted into a desalination plant.

It remains to be seen how the State Water Resources Control Board decision on Sept. 1 would affect the Santa Ana Regional Water Board’s looming decision on the proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach.

The Log, in June 2019, reported on Redondo Beach’s plans to repurpose the AES plant across from King Harbor, once it was decommissioned. The council specifically approved a financing plan to convert the power plant’s land into a wetland sanctuary and parklands.

A real estate developer – Leo Pustilnikov – had purchased the power plant property earlier this year, according to another report in The Log. Reporting stated Pustilnikov could convert the property into a commercial property, with a mix of residential, office, retail and visitor-serving uses. Whether such plans are actually in place, however, have yet to be confirmed.

Plans to redevelop the AES plant could also affect how the King Harbor revitalization ultimately takes shape. The city had hoped to begin a revitalization plan, but Redondo Beach voters prevented a massive overhaul of King Harbor – known as The Waterfront – from happening.

AES’s plant in Redondo Beach occupies about 50 acres of land. The plant was built in 1954, though AES, which was found in 1981, began its operations at the Redondo Beach property in 1998.

Several power plants up and down the California coast – specifically those using ocean water as a means to cool water intake structures – were set to be decommissioned by the end of this year. A 2019 ruling, however, altered the state’s decommissioning plan. The power plants will remain in place through at least 2021 – longer in some places – to maintain power grid reliability.

Extending the life of power plants, such as the ones in Redondo Beach and Huntington Beach, would also give state officials more time to develop and implement alternative sources for energy, such as wind.

The State Water Resources Control Board decision also applies to the AES Alamitos location in Long Beach (near the Los Cerritos Wetlands and Alamitos Bay Marina) and Mandalay Generating Station at Ormand Beach in Oxnard (near Channel Islands Harbor).

Redondo Beach’s City Council reportedly decided to challenge the extension plan in court.

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One thought on “AES power plants to remain open a little longer

  • R. Emerson

    Do you even write these yourself? This looks suspiciously like the exact wording from local activists in Redondo and Hermosa Beaches. Must be nice, but insulting to be in their back pocket all the time. It makes me question everything else I have read from this publication over the years. As a boater, I appreciate unbiased information. Let me decide where my decision lays, don’t tell me.



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