Hundreds of people gathered at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday night for the California Energy Commission's initial information hearing on the future of the AES Redondo Beach power plant on North Harbor Drive.
AES Southland, which owns the power plant, submitted its application to repower—rebuild—the generating station last November. The application was deemed "data adequate," meaning that there was enough information to proceed to the next step of the process, in late August.
The current AES Redondo Beach Generating Station must be retired, rebuilt, retrofitted or receive a special exemption to continue operating past 2020 due to a ban on once-through cooling, where ocean water is used to cool the superheated steam that spins the turbines.
· Complete coverage: AES Redondo Beach power plant
The new power plant, which would have less than half the generation capacity as the current one, would take up about 10 1/2 acres of the existing 50-acre site. If the plant is approved, construction and demolition of the old plant will begin in January 2016 and end by December 2020.
During the meeting, which lasted about four hours, AES representatives, CEC staff and the assistant public advisor gave presentations detailing the project, possible issues with the process and how people could participate in the hearing process, respectively. Redondo Beach and South Bay residents, union members, parents, city officials and local activists, among others, expressed their opinions.
The CEC will ultimately determine whether the new plant can be built; Tuesday's was just the first step in the public application process, which will continue for at least a year.
Below is the Redondo Beach Patch live blog from the event. Entries are in chronological order. Please forgive any typos or misspellings!
5:37 p.m.: Commissioner Karen Douglas, the lead commissioner on the committee reviewing the project, introduces herself and everybody else on the panel. We're in the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.
Now the parties are introducing themselves. Stephen O'Kane and Jennifer Didlo with AES, the counsel for AES, an AES environment consultant and someone else with AES are here.
Pat Kelly, the project manager for the CEC, introduces herself and other staff members—Keri Willis, the project attorney; Eric Knight; Chris Davis; Mark Hesters; Matt Layton; Joe Hughes; and others.
Councilman Pat Aust, Mayor Steve Aspel, Councilman Jeff Ginsburg, Councilman Matt Kilroy, Councilman Bill Brand, City Attorney Mike Webb and a representative from the AQMD introduce themselves. Hawthorne City Manager Michael Goodson and a Hawthorne city council member are also here.
There are some technical difficulties with the WebEx, but they are quickly resolved.
5:49 p.m.: First will be a short slideshow about the project. Then, they'll call people up for public comment.
They explain the ex parte rule: No comments are to be made to the commissioners or their advisors unless it's in a public meeting or written into the public record. This is "to provide full disclosure to all participants of any information that may be used as a basis for the future Decision on this application."
Parties involved are the applicant (AES), CEC staff, and interveners. A preliminary scheduling order will be submitted within two weeks of tonight, Douglas says.
People can e-file documents and leave comments via the CEC website. All parties will be required to file documents electronically after Nov. 1, Douglas says. All documents can be found on the website, located here. She encourages people to sign up for the listserv.
Evidentiary hearings will be scheduled. Douglas continues to talk about the entire process. There will be multiple opportunities for the public to participate.
"Tonight is the very beginning stages of the Energy Commission's process," she says.
5:54 p.m.: Time for AES to present, but first, Assemblyman Steve Bradford speaks.
"We are challenged with losing 2,300 megawatts with the closure of SONGS and the closure of other facilities in California," he says. "The need for a facility is great. It is real."
He asks people to carefully consider the possibilities.
"If not here, then where?" He points out that if the power plant is relocated, it will go to a poverty-stricken area, and that a power plant has been in Redondo Beach for more than 100 years. He also says that the gas-fired power plant will provide power "when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine."
As to environmental risk, he says what is being proposed is "10 times cleaner than what existed" and reiterates that a power plant has always been there. "It's an opportunity to modernize," he says. "Our technology in producing power has advanced."
5:59 p.m.: Bill Brand gets up. He thanks the commission. "You're going to get the public engagement that you're looking for," he says. He also thanks Aspel for canceling the city council meeting.
Brand says that there's a lot of conflicting information out about whether the power is actually needed in the area. The new plant will be inefficient because of its location.
"We now know the power lines that stretch all the way to the 405 freeway can be removed" if the power plant is retired, says Brand. "This power plant application has already been opposed by the Redondo Beach City Council" as well as Rep. Henry Waxman and Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi. He notes that the Redondo Beach City Council is on its way to changing the zoning on the property to force a needs analysis.
"We really look forward to the Commission denying this license, actually," he says.
6:10 p.m.: Douglas says there will be multiple presentations and reiterates that there will be multiple opportunities for the public to speak.
AES Southland President and project director Jennifer Didlo thanks everyone for coming out. She introduces Stephen O'Kane and Kristen Joe.
"Who is AES?" Didlo shows a map explaining where AES operates—25 companies on five continents. "We have a significant footprint in the United States," she says. She also notes that AES is a "leader" in renewable energy, battery storage and other areas.
In California, AES has 3,700 megawatts of natural gas power, and emission-free voltage support in Huntington Beach, in addition to multiple solar and wind projects.
The project will support California's goals when it comes to being green, Didlo says. They will eliminate the use of ocean water for cooling. They will exceed carbon reduction targets. The emissions will be lower. It offers a chance to upgrade the infrastructure. "Replacing this near-60-year-old facility with a modern facility is what the future of California needs."
The new plant will only operate when needed, and will be able to start up more quickly and be up to 50 percent more efficient with its natural gas use.
"It's not, do I want a reusable resource or do I want a natural gas plant?" she says. You need both—the wind blows at night, the sun shines in the day, and the natural gas plant is available when it's needed.
"We know for certain the physics of the matter there has to be some generation near where people live," she says, noting that there is "an incredible amount of population on the coast of California." "We know unequivocally that Redondo Beach is twice as effective as an inland plant for serving a load on the coast."
"The closer the power plant is to you, the more reliable your electricity source is because it requires less transmission," she adds.
She notes that 1500-1800 megawatts will be needed in the future in the Western Los Angeles area. Because all the power plants are located on the coast, all the transmission lines are also there.
She says a community benefit to rebuilding the power plant will be revitalizing the harbor. "Something that is going to be modern is going to look better," she says, calling the project the "clearest path" to getting the old plant torn down. A new plant will help minimize electricity costs, too, she says.
6:31 p.m.: Stephen O'Kane, the environmental guy for AES talks about the impact. The current plant uses ocean-water cooling. "We are facing a deadline with complaince with the state's new once-through cooling policy," he says. They have to minimize their impacts on marine organisms. While it would be possible to retrofit the plant, but they thought it would not be appropriate for California's clean-energy goals because it takes forever to start up.
"We intend to build a new plant and significantly downsize this facility," he says. There will be an 800-megawatt decrease in capacity with the new plant versus the old one.
"We will be able to save the iconic whaling wall that currently graces Harbor Boulevard."
O'Kane explains how the new plant will work. It will be more efficient because it is a combination gas-turbine and steam-turbine plant—excess heat from the gas turbines will be converted to steam.
To cool the steam, the plant will use an air-cooled condenser, like a car's radiator.
"We're approaching 50 percent thermal efficiency," he says. For comparison, a car has about 25 percent thermal efficiency. They can also run one, two or three turbines at once, which ever is most efficient.
He shows a photo of the old plant, and a rendering of what the new plant will look like.
He says it's economically smart to reuse the infrastructure that already connects the site to the grid, e.g. the transmission lines.
The new plant will also "use significantly less fresh water." One, it's good because water is scarce. Two, it's good because it takes energy to transport the water.
Now, he's talking about air quality. "It's going to have less emissions," he says. "You simply cannot create as much emissions as you can from a small plant as you can from a big plant today."
The project will be vetted by the AQMD, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the CEC and Federal Land Managers. The new plant will produce more energy in a year than the current plant, but use the same amount of fuel.
He calls the amount of particulate matter released "a very, very small amount."
He says the emissions will remain stable because they won't be burning more fuel. "You can't make more emissions if you can't burn more fuel," O'Kane says.
The plant is a $500 million capital investment; there will be a $113 million construction payroll; at least 149 construction jobs; 93 indirect jobs; $23 million for local supplies and materials.
Ongoing benefits will include 21 employees, plus $3 million annually in local expenditures. There will also be continued and increased property taxes. "When we build a new plant, the new facility will be re-assessed, and our taxes are going up," he says. Right now, the taxes AES pays to Redondo Beach are a drop in the bucket of the city's $100 million budget.
"Tonight is just the beginning of our process," he says, wrapping it up.
6:41 p.m.: Pat Kelly introduces the staff presentation. There are three phases: data adequacy, staff discovery and analysis, and committee evidentiary hearing and decision.
In the second phase, staff will hold hearings and release a preliminary staff assessment and a final staff assessment. In the third phase, the committee will make its final decision.
During the D&A process, the staff examine the project application to make sure it complies with all laws, ordinances, regulations and standards (LORS). They will also conduct independent engineering, environmental, public health and safety analyses.
They will also analyze a "no power plant alternative." When staff finishes its analysis, it will produce a staff assessment and make a recommendation to the committee.
The Issues Identification Report was published in March. This report alerts people about what the issues and important topics are.
These are the issues:
· Environmental Justice Population
· Cultural Resources
· Coordination with SAQMD
Kelly goes into more depth on the issues. You can find the document she's referencing online.
6:53 p.m.: Blake Roberts, the assistant public advisor, is here in place of Alana, the public advisor appointed by the governor. The public advisor is an independently appointed attorney who helps the public understand the process; recommends the best way to be involved; and assists in successful participation in proceedings (e.g. translation services, outreach).
The public advisor does not have any advocacy role with the commission.
There are two levels of participation: informal participation through comments at meetings, electronic comments and written comments to the Commission Dockets Unit. "Comments are a good way for the commission to hear you and to consider your comments," he says; however, comments aren't considered evidence.
If you want a stronger role, you want to intervene—serve as a party to the proceeding, can present evidence at the hearings through witnesses, and can question the staff and applicant's witnesses. Anyone may file a Petition to Intervene. Early intervention is the most effective. The city of Redondo Beach has indicated that it will serve as an intervenor.
"If you want to intervene, you probably want to do so as soon as possible," he says.
Once a petition is submitted, the assigned committee will review it.
To participate, sign up for the listserv for Redondo Beach, submit written comments, provide oral comments, and attend public participation events, whether in person, by phone or via WebEx.
You can also visit energy.ca.gov and look up the Redondo Beach Energy Project.
E-commenting is a new system—just fill out this form and it will be added to the docket.
6:57 p.m.: A copy of the staff presentation will be posted on the web docket on Wednesday. Now it's time for public comment. Remember, this is not a transcription. The proceeding is being recorded, and there is a court reporter who will prepare a transcript.
Comments must be spoken into the microphone, and people must say and spell their names. Comments must be limited to three minutes so that everyone can speak
"As you can see, we have quite a stack of you who are interested in speaking to us," says Douglas.
There are four microphones in the room.
"No decisions are being made tonight," says another commissioner.
6:59 p.m.: The assemblyman from Huntington Beach and North Orange County says, "AES has done exactly what the state has asked them to do, and more."
(Note: AES has plants in Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos.)
He praises the new plants.
"Although there are many unknowns, we now face a world without SONGS," he says. "AES has been a great partner in (the process of upgrading the plans)."
7:06 p.m.: Mayor Aspel's time! He thanks the CEC for being here and notes that he testified last month in front of the committee. He says this has nothing to do with Measure A. "This is just primarily about the AES Power Plant," he says, noting that since 2000, the city has worked with AES to convince them to vacate the property.
"Now, there's an opportunity for AES to gracefully go away if it's deemed the electricity is not necessary," Aspel says. "We just want to make sure there's a needs analysis and that you deem the power to be vital to the grid, and also as a city, the citizens here have had the power plant for over 100 years, and I think our councilmember Aust will come up and tell you the exact date it was built—I think he was born there—it's not like we're trying to kick it out to somebody else's part of town…
"If the new power plant is deemed necessary, then so be it. Just do everything in your power to do a geniune needs analysis."
And here's Aust!
He's 65 years old today, and gets a round of applause for that. He gives his credentials—he was with the fire department, he was the chief, he's lived near the plant all his life. "I have an intimate knowledge of Redondo Beach and that plant," he emphasizes.
"We believe … that a needs analysis should be done to prove for our citizens … that that power plant is needed and is necessary for this area and specifically this city," Aust says. "One hundred percent of Redondo Beach is within those 6 miles of the plant."
I'm not sure if Aust is for or against the new plant.
Julian Stern, the youngest commissioner in Redondo Beach and former council candidate, has apparently left. Now, Joe Han of a business organization that represents a bunch of people says his organization supports AES' application to move forward.
Ben Clayton has worked in the South Bay for about 30 years. He builds refineries and power houses. He says building a new power plant will supply good paying jobs.
Joan Irvine, a resident of Redondo Beach, says part of the quality of life is electricity. She wants to make sure AES can produce electricity because they've been a good neighbor.
7:17 p.m.: Cleo Turner, a member of Local 250, is here to support the AES project. "I believe that it's going to be much better for the community," he says. He wants the cleaner air that would come with a new power plant, too… even though AES' graph
Jeff Melodia, a resident of Redondo Beach, says he's not sure the power is needed, and that he's very excited for the revitalization of the Harbor. "I hope that we don't think that we're better than other communities and not want to have it in our backyard," he says.
Michael Stewart is a 27-year resident of Redondo Beach and a business owner. He is opposed to the power plant. "It's simply it's location is in one of the densest populations and it just seems ludicrous to approve a plan to prolong this years and years into the future. If this was a greenfield, we would not be in this meeting," he says.
Ron Miller with the L.A. and Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council. He asks his members to all stand up. They support the power plant because it will make "dramatic changes" in the community and produce jobs in the community with the $1.8 million man hours of construction. THe multiplier effect will "make everything good." He supports the project.
Barbara Epstein is shortening her comments, but she came to ask the CEC to help Redondo Beach develop a new vision for a coastline. She's against the power plant. "I know this plant will be different. I understand that. Redondo citizens have the knowledge and the will to partner with AES to provide a new and amazing direction for our city to travel to," she says.
Michael Chandler is a member of the Local 250 and is a longtime resident of the South Bay. He's also in favor of the power plant. He has a boat in Port Royal Marina.
Andre Sarmiento, who did not spell his name, is with Local 250. He thinks the new power plant is the future.
Simone Binder does spell her name. She lives in Hermosa Beach, and she moved under the understanding that the plant would be retired and torn down. She wants to know if AES would be required to tear down the plant if a permit is not approved, and how AES will mitigate the particulate emissions and the combined health effects of the E&B Oil Project in Hermosa Beach.
The staff will address questions like that in future workshops, says a commissioner.
Alex Gaxiola is a union electrician and a Torrance resident. He's in favor of the project because of the jobs it will create and how it will make the skyline better.
7:34 p.m.: Redondo Beach resident Paul Langland supports AES' proposed plan. He likes the smaller footprint and says the freed-up area will be good for the city. He wants to know if some of the gas from the Hermosa Beach project (which is an oil project) can be used with AES.
Next is Mike Koblosh. He will be 60 at the end of the month; he's lived downwind of the current plant and has never had a bad day. He's the maintenance supervisor of an aerospace company in Long Beach. He knows backups are really important; that's why he supports this project. He says the power plant is controlling Redondo's population because it's built on open land, and there is open land below the transmission lines.
He says the land under the transmission lines would be converted to condos. He neglects to mention that at least 50 percent of Redondo Beach residents must vote for the zoning change to allow condos.
Kay Gagnon has been an aerospace engineer in the area for a long time. She says the visuals with the hardhats "tugs on the heartstrings." "The gravity of this decision really demands focus on facts, it demands focus on tech capabilities, and it demands focus on the greater good," she says. She is opposed. "This power plant being proposed is low-tech. It's the wrong place due to the dense population."
Michael Davis has been a steam-fitter for seven years and lives in Redondo Beach. The South Bay needs its cleaner energy and the plant construction will help maintain the middle class in the area.
Stephen Chiu with Local 250 says the power is needed because his lights flicker at home all year. He supports the project.
Ron Proube hopes the power plant remains when everyone is gone.
Richard Fiore grew up across the street from the power plant. He is a strong proponent for the power plant and Local 250. "It's a smaller footprint; it's not going to be bad at all for the community," he says.
Arlene Staich will be followed by Jim Light. This will be interesting. Staich supports the power plant; Light does not.
Light is very forceful when he speaks, and he hopes that a needs analysis is performed. He reiterates many positions he has stated at previous meetings and in his blogs in Patch.
"This is the wrong place for a power plant," he emphasizes as he wraps up his presentation after the three allotted minutes. He gets a loud round of applause.
Commissioner Douglas says, "We certainly do not want any applause contests." She also asks for civility. "These proceedings can be long, and they can be contentious, and they can be emotionally draining at times," she adds. "This is a community, and we're all part of this community."
7:52 p.m.: Bill Lippert has been a citizen of Redondo Beach for more than 65 years. He's concerned about health issues and the aesthetics of a new plant. He asks that if a plant must be built, it should be built as close to Harbor Drive as possible; otherwise, it will be higher in elevation than the current plant because of the uphill slope of the property.
He likes a plan that was presented before even the Heart of the City. He mentions the tech center is allowed to build higher to provide a buffer between residents and the power plant itself.
He recommends the Whaling Wall be placed on the east side of the property.
Lillian Light is president of the Environmental Priorities Network, which has about 100 people working to promote environmental protection. She also urges the CEC to complete a needs assessment before granting AES a permit. There has been a large increase in solar-powered homes, she says, and that South Bay residents have been reducing electricity use.
Mario Adila supports the project because "we need the jobs."
Vic Krause has been in Redondo for at least two decades, and he thinks "AES has done an admirable job on the new plant."
Jim Montgomery has been following the issue for awhile. "The risks … outweigh the benefits," he says. This shouldn't be about jobs versus health, he says. He does not support the plant.
Lori Zaremski is at the mike. She is here on behalf of the "health and well-being of our children." She says everyone needs employment, "But we're here to talk about the health of your children and your grandchildren and their children." She notes that the City Council feels very strongly about having a needs analysis performed.
Zaremski thanks a lot of people, and she also approves that there are so many women on the commission.
Mike Withers has been a pipe fitter for 31 years. He says the closer to sea level the plants are built, the more efficient they are.
George Vosquez is a steam fitter in the South Bay. He calls it a "no brainer" to support the AES power plant project. He's helped to build other steam plants in the region, and he explains that the turbines are insulated to keep the noise down.
Rob Gaddis, a 20-year resident within a half-mile of the power plant in Redondo Beach, says there is some confusion about cleaner air with the new plant, despite the fact that the application notes that it would produce more pollution because it would run more often.
"Frankly, AES has not been a good neighbor to us in Redondo Beach," he says, accusing them of gaming the local elections. "We're looking forward to getting rid of them."
Corey Chitlick, the environmental coordinator at AES Redondo Beach, says she's speaking on behalf of the employees and notes that her job is mentioned in the application.
Don Paben is in support of replacing the current plant with a new plant. By freeing up the remaining 38 acres, it will help with the revitalization of King Harbor.
8:08 p.m.: Mary Ewell says AES has the money to pay the pollution fees to build a new plant.
"This is profit-motivated, not citizen-motivated," she says, noting that Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach are park-poor, but a park next to a power plant is unhealthy. "Even now, AES has a chance to produce energy pollution free, but chooses not to because it's less profitable."
She doesn't believe AES' statements because it spent so much money on the anti-Measure A campaign. She says other things, but ultimately, she opposes the new plant and would encourage a needs assessment.
Dr. Roger Light, no relation to Jim Light, is a clinical neuropsychologist. He is adamantly against the power plant in Redondo Beach because of the impact of particulate matter and its negative health impacts.
He says the pollutants play a role in the skyrocketing rate of dementia and autism.
Tony Czuleger, a longtime resident of Redondo Beach whose family has lived in Redondo Beach since 1932, supports the power plant, which is directly west of his family's business. His father is still working at that business at 78 years of age.
"I just don't think the power plant has much of an effect [on my father]," he says. Plus, the power plant is now much cleaner because it runs on natural gas instead of oil. He would "have a big problem with the plant" if it still used oil for fuel.
He says Bob Meistrell said, "We don't need a park there; we've got the Pacific Ocean!"
Jess Money gets up to speak. "I did some interesting research today," he says. He visited the CEC website and looked up information on the agency's seal, and he read the value statement. It does not mention AES and construction unions. "The fact is, when those jobs are done, we're still going to have … 50 years of permanent damage to this community."
He's lived a mile away from the plant for a long time. "I would submit that the people of Redondo Beach and the surrounding communities have paid our dues as far as power for the rest of the state, and it's time that we get a break," he says.
He says AES shipped its power out to Oklahoma for some time.
Please note that this is a live blog, not a transcript. The CEC will make a transcript available Wednesday.
Marna Smeltzer, CEO of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce, says getting the license to operate is just one step. She wants the CEC to approve a license to build the new plant because it won't be built unless AES gets a new contract. The Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce wholeheartedly supports a new license.
Edward Williams is with Local 250. He's lived in the South Bay for awhile and supports the power plant.
8:32 p.m.: Gemma Scharfenberger does not have remarks prepared, but she's a 30-year resident of Redondo Beach and does not support the power plant. Jim Light and Jim Montgomery speak for her. She keeps talking and says some questions need to be asked and answered.
She asks if the CEC will do a needs assessment.
A commissioner responds and says a needs assessment might not be done. Scharfenberger says one should be done.
Todd Loewenstein, another former school board member, thanks the commissioners for their service. He notes the school board passed a resolution earlier this year opposing a new power plant. Also, Measure Q will enable the schools to all convert to solar power.
He disagrees with AES being a good neighbor because it rarely helped the school district. He mentions that AES sued a current school board member and former city council member—not something a good neighbor would do.
Building a hotel would bring lots more jobs. "Do your homework (a needs analysis), we ask you to do that," he says.
The next man, whose name I didn't catch, calls the new power plant "an exciting opportunity." "It's like being at the beauty contest and looking for the fattest girl," he says, somehow making a comparison to how little pollution AES Redondo Beach produces next to the Port of Los Angeles.
Bill Bosch, a 40-year resident and homeowner, looks at this as "a marvellous opportunity to get rid of a blight on our waterfront, get rid of the pollution that we're suffering from … maybe it made sense to have a power plant here 100 years ago when the technology required ocean water cooling. That's not true today," he says.
Someone just told me they like my live blogs. Hooray!
Another longtime resident says that he's opposed to the power plant. He notes that many of the people speaking are with unions and AES. They're talking about jobs, which are personal issues, while the plant is a quality of life issue. "AES is all about profit," he says.
"Believe me, folks, there's not going to be condos (where the power lines are)," he says, alluding to the man who spoke earlier.
Katy Kalata is a mother and a teacher at a Redondo Beach elementary school. She supports the process "because I believe that right now, we know what our energy needs are, but we don't know what they are in the next two years, three years, four years … We don't know if in four years, we're going to need this plant … If we need it in four years, we want AES to have that permit to build it here." She supports the plant.
Ed Jakola lives on Broadway and respects the CEC process. He believes the "downsizing and modernization of the AES plant will have a positive effect on the community." He thinks the electricity will be needed, and he wants the unused space on the property turned into retail and restaurants.
Al Sattler, chair of the climate change committee for the Angeles chapter of the Sierra Club, notes that this is not his first CEC hearing. He remembers a slide from a Cal-ISO slide that said the plant might not be needed. Obviously, he opposes the plant.
8:43 p.m.: Ashley Kollar is part of the union. She understands that people are concerned about the health impacts of the power plant, but the people building the plant don't want the pollution, either. They want to provide jobs and a better quality of life.
David Wiggins, a former school board president, does not envy the job of the CEC commissioners. He believes that grid reliability will not be assured by the addition of another power plant in the area and notes that AES Redondo Beach has run even less this year, despite the SONGS shutdown.
"How wise is it to place a power plant in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas on the coast of California?" he asks. He says the power plant should be put in a less densely populated area. He opposes the plant.
Adele Gleichman is at the mike. She is speaking on behalf of the families of Redondo Beach. She notes that there are at least 6,000 students downwind of the current power plant. Very few parents that she has spoken with are in favor of the power plant. She points out that the union members are not representative of Redondo Beach—they say the South Bay. She doesn't believe that the union members are even from Hermosa Beach or Torrance, though several have said they're from Redondo Beach or Torrance.
She notes that any employment would be during the construction and demolition of the plant.
"I would like the CEC to request from AES that they present alternatives for the use of their land," she says. "I would like to see what can be done as far as building something separate from a power plant."
She emphasizes that the city of Redondo Beach gets very little money from AES right now, and that a hotel would generate more revenue. She notes that AES spent $400,000 to defeat Measure A.
Samantha Sine has worked in the South Bay area for about 8 years. "I hear everybody say that they don't want the power plant here, but it's been here," she says. She is with Local 250, which is "not just about the jobs. We're about family, we're about future." The new power plant is better for the environment and for children's futures.
Alex Starr is against the power plant. He wants the CEC to do a needs analysis, even if it's not required. He wants to know if any of the community activism will prompt them to do a needs analysis, or if only a conflict with local zoning will force such an analysis.
9:04 p.m.: Andrew Brand—no relation to the councilman—is here to protect middle-class jobs and support AES' application to repower. He wrote his speech himself, without any help. He is very supportive of the new plant. He knows there are risks involved, but that the CEC will do a risk assessment and make the best decision possible.
This man is unemployed and lives in Torrance. He is retraining to go into solar energy.
Another man gets up to speak about conservation—replacing light bulbs with LED lightbulbs. His electric bill is still lower than it was in 1995, even if he leaves his TV on overnight. He's also considered about the pollution over the schools.
"Please do not allow AES to rebuild in Redondo Beach, but please also get a needs analysis first to see if we need it because as I said, my electric bill has gone down," he says.
Delia Vechi is here! I wonder if she's going to bring out the Puff the Magic Dragon analogy. I don't think so. She calls the creation of jobs "a joke" because the jobs will be in construction, but after that, only 21 people will be working in the plant.
No wait, here's a dragon reference. The "Magic Dragon" is in the midst of a densely populated area, she says. "Now is the time to stop them to repower," she says. "The problem is more than hot water killing fish or putting water in tanks that kill fish. The plant is killing people."
Vechi details all the effort she's gone to against the power plant—sending letters, speaking at public hearings.
"Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea, and CEC help us make us Redondo Beach pollution-free," she says. "Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea, and CEC helped us make Redondo Beach a great place to live."
Ken Barry, a longtime Redondo resident, has kids in the school system. "It reminds me of build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. And that may be if you have a mouse problem," but there may not be a mouse problem, he says. "It just seems, from a layperson's point of view, it just seems completely backwards!"
How can the CEC make an informed decision about the plant if it doesn't know if the energy is required? he asks. He doesn't get it. His remarks get applause. He says the new plant is definitely a better mousetrap, but that the area doesn't seem to have a mouse problem.
A commissioner says that the Public Utilities Commission will consider need.
"Sir, your mouse is a few miles away from Redondo Beach—it's called LAX," says a resident of Redondo Beach who is a member of Local 11. He supports a new power plant. "We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing this."
Mikeal Adams is next. He's an employee of AES who is in favor of the new plant. "We are real people out here operating these units. We take our jobs seriously, and we operate them responsibly," he says. He emphasizes that they want a minimal impact on the environment. "Currently, we do nothing that would cause major harm to the environment."
Gerry O'Connor of Manhattan Beach emphasizes that he is missing a Manhattan Beach City Council meeting tonight that is talking about the results from a committee he's on in favor of this hearing. He hasn't said it yet, but he's against the power plant. He wants a needs analysis. "If you're going to listen to AES, you're going to want to listen to everyone else," he says. "Consistently, AES has misled us with misrepresentation of their emissions numbers, their usage numbers, and every time the representatives of BBR and other community members (have pointed this out)."
The only elected officials who support it or might support it aren't local, he says. He also doubts they're still here. "Every local elected official you've heard from has either been in firm opposition or has asked you to do a needs assessment so you can decide."
9:06 p.m.: James McCloud has lived in Redondo for 36 years. He was on the preservation commission. "The AES plant, as you've heard, is not and has never been a good neighbor," he says. He says the "AES employees" in hard hats came, so he decided to speak.
Problem: The people with the hard hats were union members—not AES employees. They did, however, support a new plant.
Six cards left!
9:24 p.m.: Zein Obagi, former congressional candidate who will probably run again, says he first became involved in the issue after going door-to-door in Redondo Beach and realizing that a lot of people were opposed to a new power plant in the city. "That caught my attention, and I started to attend these City Council meetings," he says. The state of California must lead the way when it comes to energy and health policy. "Once, there was a need for this power plant to be on the coast because of ocean cooling. Now that's prohibited."
Even if a new power plant isn't built, something else will be, he says. There will be construction jobs, but I'm not sure if they'll be union jobs.
Obagi thinks California can do better; he opposes the power plant.
Councilman Matt Kilroy is up. He notes that he represents District 5, which is "about as far away from the power plant as you can get and still be in Redondo Beach." He opposes the power plant.
"Measure A was not an up-and-down vote with regards to the power plant," he says. He wrote the argument against Measure A, but he still opposes the power plant. "I felt a very strong feeling that their overwhelming position was that they would prefer not to have a power plant there."
If a power plant is needed, however, it would be "grudgingly accepted."
He says everyone wants a needs analysis done. "Whatever we can do to help you get that done; whatever we can do to provide you with the reason and the cause to do that we would hopefully be able to provide you with that," he says.
Regardless of what happens, his No. 1 priority is to get rid of the existing power plant.
Lezlie Campeggi is a 22-year homeowner and resident of Redondo Beach, as well as a co-founder of NoPowerPlant.com. She points to the AES emissions graph, and notes that AES is asking for an up-to-76-percent run-rate, not just a 20-percent run-rate. The particulate pollution at a 25-percent capacity would be 500 percent of the emissions from the current plant, she says.
She notes that AES hints that the old power plant won't be torn down if a new one is not built. AES is required to remediate the property, she says. She notes that Eric Pendergraft, former president of AES Southland, told the city council that the plant won't be built if the power is not needed.
Campeggi encourages a needs analysis.
"I think that Redondo Beach would like to avail themselves of a better form of birth control" than the power plant, jokes Campeggi.
The next speaker is also a longtime resident of Redondo Beach. Her brother works with a power company, and he was surprised that AES was moving forward with the project because it would be really loud.
She brings up the stray voltage at the Topaz Substation. The new plant should be relocated, she says.
Greg Diete, a 25-plus-year resident of Redondo Beach and a current Hollywood Riviera resident, believes the power plant has always been "a blight on this community."
"It's really held back development of a wonderful recreation experience for people in the region and surrounding regions," he says. "It has demonstrated not a need for its use in the past with a 5 percent operating usage over the last few years."
He says there are better places to put the power plant. "Let's go with this needs analysis," he says. He also appreciates that the CEC is holding the hearing locally; however, I think part of the process is holding workshops near where the power plant will be built.
9:44 p.m.: Bill Soper wonders where everyone went—the auditorium is much emptier than it was. He wants to make some "light comments—pun intended—on things that we've heard tonight." He moved here 60 years ago after being in the Marine Corps.
When he first got here, he noticed it wasn't quiet when he went to bed—there was the noise from the power plant and the noise from the ocean. He later was able to tune it out so he could only hear the ocean.
I don't know if he supports or opposes the power plant. He does believe that if the power lines come down, condos will be built.
I think he's for the power plant, but he says an analysis would find more pollution from cars and trucks. He says that everyone he's talked to, only one person has denounced building the power plant—but he might have talked to only one or two people. He cautions the CEC about taking that sort of hearsay.
Sattler gets up again to thank the committee.
Time for WebEx comment from Walter Howell. He's listening from Northern California. It's hard to understand what he's saying because of distortion from the phone and speakers.
Melanie Cohen wishes she was here. There is a lot of static. "We truly do need a needs analysis. We don't know what came first, the chicken or the egg," she says. She reiterates that there's been a lot of opposition. She hopes the CEC "will do its due diligence and please, please put together a needs analysis to determine" whether the plant is needed."
This man sounds like he's in a wind tunnel. He's driving. He feels like there are people in favor of having the power plant in the community "are acting in fear of hypotheticals" about condos and the amount of energy needed. He's against the rebuilt power plant. He notes that AES purchased the power plant from Edison—AES didn't build it.
He says that AES will "farm out" the labor to build the power plant, and probably not want to pay high union wages.
Douglas emphasizes how valuable the public input is.
Now it's time for housekeeping items. This information will be available online.
Future meetings will be held locally, for the most part, and those that aren't will be accessible via WebEx, Douglas says. She thanks everyone for being here and adjourns.