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.

Todd Loewenstein January 24, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Actually, Jim, thanks to the generosity of our citizens who approved Measure Q in November, the school district will be going solar starting this summer. We are hoping to completely or substantially go "off the grid", supplying all of our schools with energy from the sun. Therefore, I think we can be relatively certain that AES is not critical to our energy needs.
Jim Light January 24, 2013 at 07:25 AM
I know AES is not critical to any of Redondo's energy needs. And this summer the three new plants coming online make it all the more useless. Way to go Todd!
Jeff Melodia January 25, 2013 at 03:01 PM
This isn't really an unbiased news story but an opinion. Shouldn't this be in the editorial section?
Jim Light January 25, 2013 at 03:10 PM
It is in the blog section. All blogs are opinion pieces if you follow them.
Jeff Melodia January 25, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Right. I guess I was lost. New to this. Thanks
Fred Reardon January 25, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Todd Loewenstein for write in Redondo Beach Mayoral Candidate.
DR January 26, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Thank you school board. The school board in their actions would and did not support Measure A. As a COMPROMISE, they decided to write a resolution opposing the power plant, if it did not meet ALL the same requirements that are already in place by the permit process that AES is REQUIRED to go through. In making modifications to the resolution, the board members needed to COMPROMISE on the wording in order to get it to pass. it basically says, "if it doesn't pass all requirements, we oppose it." That is already part of the process. We don't need Measure A. www.revitalizeredondo.org
Jim Light January 26, 2013 at 04:59 PM
The school board made a point that they are neutral on Measure A as Measure A is zoning and that is beyond their authority. They clearly indicated they are against increased pollution and its impacts on the children. Two School Board members have endorsed Measure A. And Jane Diehl the one dissenting vote on the resolution signed the inaccurate argument against Measure A. Essentially the resolution IS opposition to the power plant. There is no way power from the AES site is critical to school operations...especially after their solar panels are installed. The resolution states that if the power is not critical to school operations, they oppose the new power plant.
Jeff Melodia January 27, 2013 at 04:29 AM
You are wrong. I Was there. I respect their position why do you need to change the facts. They did NOT say anything about "power for school operations". Look I understand your position. it is not necessary for you to misrepresent. The resolution was a simple statement of concern to make sure all the proper conditions are met.
Jim Light January 27, 2013 at 04:44 AM
Jeff, Perhaps you don't like my paraphrasing. Here is the exact wording of the third condition: "The proposed Power Plant is of vital necessity to the energy security of the Redondo Beach Unified School District." I do not think my paraphrase misconstrued the above. Regardless, the power from AES does not meet this criteria.
Jeff Melodia January 27, 2013 at 04:59 AM
Ok Jim, this is getting silly. The electricity to the Redondo beach schoold district is the same electricity that is used for all of California. They are Part of the same grid. As for measure A, Which is the real reason we are talking about this, we clearly may differ. But I do respect the position our school district takes on protecting our children. Their timing may be suspect but the message is clear. The proposed Power Plant meets all the requirements, regulations and standards of the Federal Clean Air Act, the U.S. (Environmental Protection Agency), the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Quality Management District; and The proposed Power Plant installs the best available pollution control technology; and The proposed Power Plant is of vital necessity to the energy security of the Redondo Beach Unified School District. Cheers neighbor. With respect .
Jim Light January 27, 2013 at 05:25 AM
I am not sure what is getting silly. AES Redondo is not critical to our part of the grid. The ISO and CPUC analyses show Alamitos and Huntington are, but not Redondo. In fact if you look at their effectiveness tables, AES Redondo falls behind both these plants in every analysis. Recently the CPUC released a draft decision aimed at providing developers an incentive to replace once through cooled (ocean water cooled) plants. There are four ocean water cooled plants in our part of the grid: El Segundo, Redondo, Alamitos, and Huntington. Their capacities add up to over 4700MW of power. El Segundo is being rebuilt now and will be online this summer. The draft CPUC decision mandates the procurement of just 1000MW and sets an absolute maximum limit of 1250 MW of new natural gas power procurement to meet projected 2021 demands. You can see by comparing the numbers, all production from AES Redondo can be retired and the remaining capacity still exceeds the upper limit. In fact, you could replace all of San Onofre's power without AES Redondo. And remember, the ISO and CPUC have not deemed Redondo critical. So I am not quite sure how you make your assessment of "vital necessity" but the data does not support the conclusion that AES Redondo meets that criteria. I respect the position the school has taken as well. It is far, far more than our Council did.
Jim Light January 27, 2013 at 05:30 AM
If you note School Board Member Todd Lowenstein's comment above, it seems he has a similar interpretation of the third condition as me: "Therefore, I think we can be relatively certain that AES is not critical to our energy needs."
Jeff Melodia January 27, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Jim, I have no idea if the power is needed. I am not an expert. I was simply commenting on the school board motion. I cut and pasted their motion. I would rather not have the power plant. I do know there are experts that will be able to properly assess the value of that plant. I do believe measure A is not a good measure. It is at its core, spot zoning and infringes on property rights setting up a costly battle that our city cannot afford and will not win. That is why our council wisely has made their decision. With all that said, I do appreciate your passion and involvement. Jeff
Jim Light January 27, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Jeff, I appreciate your concern. Measure A is the only way to stop the power plant. Measure A is not spot zoning. It is 50 acres of land and the Measure A zoning makes the property compatible with the surrounding uses. That does not fit the definition of spot zoning. The City staff recommended phasing out the power plant by rezoning years ago. They sited case law. We had the advice of three separate land use legal firms. We had three volunteer attorney's answer the communities legal questions about Measure A. The only attorney running for a council position supports Measure A. The City Attorney's impartial analysis does not conclude the zoning is illegal. AES can file a lawsuit on Measure A, but it is on firm legal ground. If the CEC denies their application, Measure A provides them more value for their property. As to infringing property rights, where were you when Mayor Gin vetoed the Pearl Plaza project? When Ruxton Lane was rezoned from industrial to condos? When the Catalina Coffee Company property was rezoned from commercial to condos? You defend a Virginia company's property rights, but you had nothing to say about local companies affected by similar city actions. Isn't your company Keeping It Local? Seems you are taking the Chamber party line. Our Council has decided nothing. They keep kicking the can down the road. And all that does is guarantee 50 more years of power plant blight. Measure A is the ONLY way to stop a new power plant.
Jeff Melodia January 27, 2013 at 06:11 PM
As for any other issues. I was not asked to vote on them. Yes my company is Keepingitlocal. It is a new company that promotes patronizing locally owned business. Thanks for the plug. I am also involved in other local causes. That is why I can appreciate all those who get involved and respect that there are different points of views on many issues. I like to take the approach of working with good people rather than creating a hostile environment. I listen to your position and enjoy hearing what you have to say. What do not enjoy is any misrepresentation by any side or personal attacks. Enjoy your Sunday.
Jim Light January 27, 2013 at 07:52 PM
So if the City Council changes zoning or denies a project that is okay because you don't have to vote on it? But when residents do it by a vote of the public, it is infringing on property rights? It would seem the definition would be the same no matter the situation. Measure A is less impactful to AES than our 1992 General Plan change...there was no public outcry on that and it impacted thousands of properties with downzoning and rezoning. It was legal. And so is Measure A. I am sorry you feel I am attacking your position. That is not my intent. I am trying to understand your logic and your position. I also corrected your misinterpretation of "spot zoning". We tried to work with AES, but they refused unless they got development AND a power plant. That is obviously great for them and bad for us as they get increased profits and we get the negative impacts of the power plant, overdevelopment and more traffic without any public benefit. You started off this thread by saying I was wrong, which I didn't take as an attack. But I did substantiate those elements you stated were wrong. I believe public debate is good. And I don't feel that challenging a statement or position is an "attack". I don't hold others opinions against them. But I do feel it is proper to correct inaccuracies and to present evidence supporting my positions when challenged.
Jeff Melodia January 27, 2013 at 08:45 PM
No worries Jim. Problem with this form of communication is we are reading it without tone and feel of the person who wrote it. All good. No matter what the outcome this did spark a good debate. Look forward to talking with you more on other areas that concern us both.
Jeff Cohn January 29, 2013 at 09:49 PM
How do we get the Hermosa Beach City Council to get off their "- - -" and do something that would benefit the health and safety of its' residents? Why won't they come out and support or even speak about the topic? Its just ridiculous since we smell and breath the air as well. We also need the HB School Board to pass a similar resolution in opposition to oil drilling. We need the support of Redondo Beach as well when you are done passing Measure A in a landslide. There are hundreds of capped oil wells that could easily blowout in Redondo Beach. See http://www.nobpinhb.com if you want to know where these wells are buried under homes. Explosions are a huge risk under homes from capped wells if pressure builds up. Its the largest concern from the proposed oil project. Its very real.
Jane February 01, 2013 at 05:11 AM
I find it fascinating that Light is paid to bash AES and given free press time to further his campaign. Oh well.
Jim Light February 02, 2013 at 02:32 AM
I am not paid to write for Patch. Not sure what you are referring to. All smear and no facts.
Jeff Melodia February 02, 2013 at 03:48 AM
I would hope you would take a higher road then that comment Jim.
Jim Light February 02, 2013 at 04:10 AM
You should have written your comment to Jane. She stated something as fact that is not true. She did not refute my statements in the blog post, she attacked my character. What else is it, if not a smear?
Jeff Melodia February 02, 2013 at 04:20 AM
I didn't see it has a smear but a misunderstanding Thinking that this column is sponsored by patch. I made the same mistake. Sometimes when I try to make a point it gets lost when I place negative comments in it.
L. Campeggi February 02, 2013 at 04:34 AM
Jeff, it's hardly a misunderstanding from "Jane," whose history of Patch comments are more in the "nasty-gram department" than substance, which probably accounts for a lack of full disclosure as to who this person is. It's easy to figure that out before defending the comments of a "stranger" on Patch. Click on their name and read their history for yourself. That might be easier than putting your foot in your mouth by admonishing someone (in this case, Jim), unjustifiably.
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 (Editor) 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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