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AES Power Plant

In late 2011 AES Southland President Eric Pendergraft announced to the Redondo Beach city council that AES Redondo Beach will apply to the California Energy Commission (CEC) for a license to repower the plant that sits on Harbor Drive. Pendergraft suggested AES might replace the existing plant with a much smaller, more efficient facility. He also suggested that there could be a considerable amount of the current property that AES might not need for the new plant.

In early 2012 the city council took up the matter of the future of the power plant. A lot of citizens came forward and expressed strong feelings about getting rid of the electrical generating facility altogether. The council meetings in which the power plant was discussed led to a motion that the council would oppose the construction of a new power plant on the AES property. In April the council voted to continue the matter until July.

In spite of a variety of opinions on some of the particulars, it’s fair to say, none of the people who live in the community want a power plant here.  I don’t know anyone who works at the plant, but I’d bet the only people who don’t want it to go away are people who work there.

The AES site is currently zoned for a power plant and a park. The zoning was changed in fall of 2011 when Measure G was passed. Advocates for a power plant-free Redondo Beach have suggested the city should rezone the site again, this time excluding a power plant.

So agreeing the community doesn’t want a power plant is the easy part. The hard part’s figuring out what to do about it.

3 thoughts on “AES Power Plant

  1. Michael Jackson

    Its so easy to oppose AES since who in their right mind wants a power plant, oil refinery, or any other type of large industrial facility in their neighborhood. But the really hard work is finding a solution that benefits the entire community instead of just waving signs and yelling “no”. A school child can say no to anything; thoughtful adults search for thoughtful solutions and common ground that resolves problems for generations.

  2. Jim Light

    Well Harry and Michael, there you go sitting on the sidelines taking unsupported pot shots. In case you missed it Michael a group of residents have done much more than wave signs and say “no”. You would not even know about the power plant yet had we not raised the issue. We have educated the public and published draft zoning for the site.

    We have worked hard to define an achievable vision. The result is included in our draft zoning for the initiative we are currently crafting. Since our City has chosen to stall on making any meaningful progress to replace the power plant, we have been working with the State Coastal Conservancy who, despite our passive aggressive Council, have committed to helping us fund a new park on this site once the zoning is in place. Studies funded by the State Coastal Conservancy have concluded, after evaluating dozens of successful brownfield conversions ,that the average mix of parkland to commercial zoning is 70% to 30%. Consultants paid for by the Coastal Conservancy have independently concluded that based on all the evidence, power from this site is not required. We have taken the results of these studies and incorporated them into our zoning.

    We have published the proposed zoning since November and have incorporated numerous inputs from the residents and even the City Council (based on their public attacks of the zoning). We asked AES for inputs, but they refused to participate unless we included a power plant in the zoning. Heck we’ll even consider any constructive inputs you two might have. We have raised sufficient funds to hire a land use attorney to finalize the initiative. We have done far, far more than just say no.

    If we do nothing we get a new power plant. Since the City Council continues to slow roll the issue, we are moving forward and are confident we can achieve our vision.

    It is easy to sit there and do nothing. It’s easy to wring your hands and cringe at the thinly veiled threats of AES. And it is easy to sit there and take pot shots at those who are investing their time, energy and commitment to achieving the vision. We have chosen a path of action. And we are continuing to move forward.

  3. Eric Sidney

    It seems easy, too, to claim the City Council is doing nothing simply because they are not doing what BBR wants them to do; from what I’ve witnessed over the years, BBR’s slogan must be “My Way or the Highway”

    From what I have witnessed, our Mayor has worked to bring the community together during the council meetings and other public forums. Several meetings with the Coastal Conservancy, CEC and AES and other agencies were initiated by him. Even BBR members admitted that a lot of useful information was brought forth due to his actions. From what I have heard from friends on the city staff, many of the meetings Councilman Brand makes reference to were also attended by the Mayor, other Councilmen and the City Manager/city staff. In addition, Councilman Diels has been actively seeking alternative locations for the power plant outside of Redondo.
    I certainly do not see these actions as “passive aggressive” and far from doing nothing

    However, it is true that BBR has done more than just say ‘no.’ They call the Mayor and Council names, make cliche, unfounded accusations and displayed belligerent behavior at council meetings, showing no respect for our city leaders or fellow citizens.

    As for the “thinly veiled threats” by AES, ask the Redondo citizens sued by AES during Measure UU how “thin” they were. AES made it very clear in the beginning of all of this that they will get the full value for their property one way or the other. If they will sue individual citizens, they will surely sue the City.

    I am so grateful that we can sit in our home and watch the Council Meetings on TV. We hit the ‘mute’ button, go to the kitchen or check emails when certain people address the Council. It’s the same old song every time and it has grown very tiresome.

    I am also grateful for this blog.


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