The Redondo Beach Board of Education will discuss Tuesday whether it should take a position on the application to the California Energy Commission to build a new power plant to replace the aging AES Redondo Beach plant on Harbor Drive.
The item was put on the agenda at the request of two Redondo Beach parents who are staunch anti-power plant activists. One of the activists was Dawn Esser, the leader of the NoPowerPlant.com political action committee, who stressed that a new plant would produce more particulate pollution that would affect the health of children in the district.
On Nov. 13, both Esser and parent Scott Kaplan asked the school board to pass a resolution opposing a new power plant and to write a letter to the CEC stating the school board's opposition.
- Complete coverage: AES Redondo Beach Power Plant Debate
The current AES Redondo Beach power plant uses once-through cooling, during which ocean water is used to cool the superheated steam used to spin the turbines that generate electricity. Due to new regulations banning once-through cooling, the plant must be retired, rebuilt or obtain a special exemption to continue operating by 2020.
AES has submitted plans to rebuild the plant; however, opponents of the power plant—including NoPowerPlant.com—placed a measure on the March ballot. Measure A, previously known as the Power Plant Phase-Out Initiative, would rezone the AES property for up to 40 percent commercial and institutional uses and at least 60 percent parkland. Power generation would not be allowed on the property after 2020 if the measure passes.
Parent company AES Southland argues that a new plant will run cleaner, take up a smaller footprint, and provide California's energy grid with much-needed flexibility. Power plant opponents, on the other hand, contend the new plant will run more and produce more pollution, as well as continue to depress property values.
No staff report was attached to the online edition of Tuesday night's school board agenda, so it's unclear whether the board will debate whether to support or oppose AES' plans to rebuild as a whole, or focus on Measure A.