In November, officials cited three capacity run rates for their new plant ranging from 15 percent to 30 percent. Councilman Brand, Building a Better Redondo and NoPowerPlant.com responded that this was unrealistically low and that new plants recently had been permitted around 60 percent capacity. AES and others cried that we were misleading the people.
Well, AES recently sent the city a project update dated May 1. In this report, they revealed they will seek a permit for 76 percent capacity, exceeding the 60 percent we projected by over 25 percent. They also project their "expected" run times to be between 25 percent and 40 percent. This is a 40 percent increase from the numbers they quoted in November last year.
- Complete coverage: AES Redondo Beach Power Plant Debate
In the report, AES also announces they have again changed the size of the plant to 528 megawatts. This represents a decrease of about 16 percent from what they briefed in November. But when combined with the dramatic increase in run rate, it results in a net increase in electricity and emissions produced.
So, we were right. The numbers AES cited in the November marketing pitch were unrealistically low. We are awaiting a public apology from AES and the others who said we were misleading the public ... but we are not holding our breath.
The real comparison should be the emissions from the current plant to those of the new plant. To get an idea of that comparison, we used emissions data submitted for the brand new plant being built in El Segundo and extrapolated to the size and projected run times used in the latest AES reports. We then compared these emission numbers to those reported by AES in 2010. For example, in 2010 AES reported they produced 2,600 pounds of particulate emissions. In that year, plant ran at about 5 percent annual capacity, which is representative of recent years.
At the low end, using the "expected" 25 percent run rate cited by AES, the new plant would produce 1,300 percent more particulate pollution. At AES's "expected" high end of 42 percent run rate, the new plant would produce 2,300 percent more particulate pollution.
The AES report is quick to point out that will use newer technologies cleaner than any current plants, but does anyone really believe the new technology will reduce pollutants by 1,300 percent? I don't.
AES says we mislead the public, but they fail to provide any evidence or numbers to show where we are wrong. Why don't they just give us their projections based on the specific equipment they cite in the report?
Report after report shows the plant will not be needed for grid reliability after their current contract runs out in 2018. Why should residents have to suffer increased pollution for power that is not needed?