The Power Plant Phase-Out Initiative—a measure designed to prevent AES from rebuilding its power plant on Harbor Drive—has qualified for the March ballot, power plant opponent Jim Light announced Wednesday evening in a blog post on Redondo Beach Patch.
The Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters faxed the city a certificate of sufficiency on Wednesday affirming that the initiative had enough signatures to qualify for the March ballot, Redondo Beach City Councilman Bill Brand told Patch.
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"Over 9,500 signatures were gathered in just 40 days," Light wrote in his blog post. "Just under 6,000 valid Redondo voter signatures were required to make the ballot."
According to Brand, more than 7,000 of the signatures on the petitions were valid.
"We got more signatures in less time than any referendum or initiative that I know of that we've gone through," Brand said. "Clearly, the Redondo Beach residents don't want a new power plant on their waterfront, but now they'll be able to affirm it with a vote in March."
If passed, the initiative would rezone the AES property on Harbor Drive for up to 40 percent commercial and institutional uses. Parkland and open space would take up the rest of the property. Power generation would not be allowed. As part of the initiative, AES would have until 2022 to demolish the existing plant.
The company's contract to provide power expires in 2018.
Opponents of the initiative call the zoning changes a "taking" and say that it would make the city vulnerable to lawsuits.
The current AES Redondo Beach—a natural gas plant that uses ocean water to cool superheated steam produced by the boilers to spin the turbines and produce electricity—must be retrofitted, retired or receive a special exemption to continue to use once-through cooling by 2020.
AES officials say the proposed new plant will be smaller, run cleaner and provide power when renewable resources are offline. Opponents say a new plant would run more often and emit more harmful particulate pollution, as well as continue to depress property values.
Light, Brand and members of the NoPowerPlant.com group were the driving forces behind the initiative.