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Blog: Redondo Power Plant Low 2012 Run Rate Shows It's Not Needed

Despite SONGS outage and heatwaves, AES Redondo tallies up another year of single digit capacity run rate.

The CEC just released the 2012 run rates for power plants across the state.  One would expect that AES Redondo would have been running full blast to make up for the San Onofre Nuclear Power Generating Station (SONGS) being offline all year... especially since during this same time we experienced some of the biggest heatwaves in years.

But you would be wrong. Despite the SONGS outage and the heatwaves, AES Redondo ran at a paltry 4.82 percent of its capacity. That's right—I said 4.82 percent. 

To add insult to injury, this number is grossly inflated by AES Redondo's antedeluvian technology. It takes AES Redondo over 24 hours to ramp up and down. So it must be brought online earlier than needed. Then rather than shutdown overnight when power demand drops, they must keep it online for the next day. So this 2012 run time does not accurately reflect the need. New plants come online in minutes. 

When you combine this extremely low run rate with the fact that three brand new power plants are coming online this year adding nearly 1.5x AES Redondo's current capacity  in our part of the grid, it becomes crystal clear: a new plant is not needed in Redondo.

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.

Stewart French February 24, 2013 at 10:39 PM
"We don't need it!" Really? This argument is like saying after you fill your car at a gas station, we don't need this gas station anymore! It's not just about Redondo Beach, it's about the entire power grid of California and the Southwest. CEC knows the grid needs to be modernized, and AES is just one piece of this modernization. I refer to the folks who suffered thru Hurricane Sandy.
Jim Light February 25, 2013 at 01:03 AM
Actually Stewart, if you actually read the CPUC, CEC, CAISO studies, you would see I am not just tailing about Redondo Beach. The latest draft decision from CPUC is proposing only allowing 1250 MW of new long range power production contracts to replace the > 4000 MW power being produced specifically by our four once through cooled plans in the LA Basin. Their documents call the Alamitos and Huntington plants critical. El Segundo will be online this summer. All the evidence for our section of the grid, says that 1) we don't need AES Redondo through 2021 and beyond and 2) other plants are more critical to rebuild. Your fear mongering on Hurricane Sandy ignores several facts: 1) AES Redondo does not feed power directly into Redondo - it goes way inland for distribution to the grid. 2) The transmission lines are more susceptible than the power plants themselves to storms and other catastrophes. 3) In the event of flooding, AES Redondo is very vulnerable and is closer to sea level than most plants. In the end Measure A requires the CEC to validate power is needed from this plant. If the power is critical they can override Measure A. If it is not, then Measure A saved us from an unneeded power plant and its blight and pollution. Without Measure A the CEC will just approve the plant without a needs assessment.
Fred Reardon February 25, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Mr. French, These good ole' boy, oversimplified, analogies are just not factual. Actually...having too many, not considered "must run" fossil fuel burning/polluting power plants, drives up the cost electricity and detracts from California's renewable energy portfolio. Furthermore, based on AES's track record of keeping plants off-line for fake rate escalating shut downs, we should allow other, more trust worthy, companies to supply the electricity, if necessary. With the recent increases in clean renewable electricity supplied to the grid (now 20% clean on the CA grid), we should use this clean energy example and continue to supplement any additional grid needs with sources (unlike AES's proposed new plant) that do not pollute the air with harmful chemicals. Review the California Energy Commission's comments and the testimony of experts in the field, stating that the proposed new Redondo Beach power plant facility is not necessary. Do the smart thing and get rid of the toxic plume generating smoke stacks. Vote Yes on Measure A.
Wolfman February 25, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Janice, Jim Light is one the few candiates that is for the people of Redondo Beach and not in anybody's pockets. Who's Pocket are you in ?
Jim Light February 26, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Anyone can file a lawsuit for anything, any time. That does not mean a judge will hear it. If the state denies AES' application, Measure A is an upzoning. AES gets to complete their current contract. Done. No real grounds to sue. If the state approves their application - Measure A doesn't matter...no lawsuit. The state is making the decision. Not Redondo. That's the beauty of Measure A.

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