Organizers of a ballot initiative aimed at rezoning the land underneath the power plant on Harbor Drive will submit the initiative petition to the Redondo Beach City Clerk's Office on Wednesday morning.
According to Councilman Bill Brand, a staunch opponent of AES' plans to rebuild the power plant, organizers expect to submit at least 9,000 signatures. Just under 6,000 verified signatures—or at least 15 percent of the city's registered voters—are needed to qualify the initiative for the March ballot.
The controversy surrounding the power plant has heated up over the past year, after AES submitted very preliminary plans to demonstrate how it would comply with new statewide regulations banning once-through cooling.
- Complete coverage: AES Redondo Beach Power Plant Debate
Once-through cooling plants, including AES Redondo Beach, use ocean water to cool superheated steam produced by the boilers to spin the turbines in a natural gas plant. AES Redondo Beach must retrofit, retire or apply for a special exemption to continue to use once-through cooling by 2020 to comply with state regulations.
AES Southland, the parent company, has indicated that it will retire the old plant and build a new one in its place. In August, that it intends to submit plans for the new Redondo plant by the end of September.
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.
The citizen's initiative calls for the land to be zoned up to 40 percent commercial and institutional use; the rest would be parkland. The initiative also gives AES until 2020 to stop producing power on the site. The current power plant's contract to generate electricity expires in 2018.
Once the signatures are submitted, the city clerk will send the signatures to Los Angeles County election officials. The officials will have 30 business days to verify a sampling of signatures or 60 days to verify all the signatures.
In an information meeting over the summer, power plant opponent and Building a Better Redondo founder Jim Light said they expected the county to have enough time to finish counting the signatures by the Dec. 7 deadline for the March ballot.