A large crowd is expected to gather at city hall Tuesday night as the Redondo Beach City Council will dedicate the majority of its meeting to the proposed repowering of in South Redondo Beach.
On the agenda are a presentation from a representative of the California Coastal Conservancy and a discussion on whether the council should pass a resolution opposing the construction of a new power plant.
According to Councilman Bill Brand, the representative of the Coastal Conservancy will discuss large park projects—such as one proposed by power plant opponents—along the California coast.
- Complete coverage: AES Redondo Beach Power Plant Debate
The current AES plant on Harbor Drive must be retired by 2020 due to a state ban on once-through cooling, where a plant uses ocean water to cool the superheated steam that powers the turbine, then pumps the ocean water back into the sea.
AES intends to apply for a permit from the California Energy Commission this summer to build a new power plant on its property near the waterfront. Company officials maintain that the new plant will be smaller, more efficient and provide electricity when it's not available from renewable resources.
Opponents of the plant, including slow-growth group Building a Better Redondo and political action committee No Power Plant, counter that a new power plant would run more often and thus pollute more, endangering the health of nearby residents, and continue to depress property values in the area.
Power plant opponents have also written an initiative that, if approved by voters, would re-zone the property for up to 40 percent commercial and institutional uses and 60 percent parkland. Power generation would not be an allowable use after 2020 under the initiative.
Redondo Beach City Councilman Bill Brand and BBR leader Jim Light submitted the final text of the initiative to the city on July 3. City staff are in the middle of the 15-day period where they must write a title and summary of the initiative. Once those are written, opponents of the power plant can begin gathering signatures.
According to an email from Brand to constituents, the signatures of about 9,000 registered voters in the city must be collected within a few months for the measure to qualify for the March 2013 ballot.
At the same time, AES has launched a public-relations campaign in support of a new power plant. A large mailer with an included postcard was recently sent to about 10,000 residents in Redondo Beach. The mailer contained information about the proposed plant, including renderings of what it would look like, as well as statistics from various environmental and air quality agencies.
"Our attempt was to get the facts out to the community, to get folks some information so when they're faced with the fanatic opposition, they can make their own educated opinion about what is hype," AES Southland project manager Jennifer Didlo told the Daily Breeze.
Didlo also said AES has received mostly positive feedback.
Editor's note: Redondo Beach Patch will once again be live-blogging the portions of the council meeting relating to the power plant. Check back later for a link.