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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Carlsbad Group Opposes Encina Power Plant Expansion

The operators of the Encina Power Plant in Carlsbad want to modernize the facility, but a group of Carlsbad residents is against the project.

NRG Energy has applied to the California Energy Commission to replace three existing steam boiler units with a new, more efficient, 558-megawatt plant.

NRG said the new facility will provide electricity to about 450,000 homes and will use air-cooled condensers instead of ocean water for its cooling requirements.

Julie Baker leads a Carlsbad group that opposes the plan. "Power plants don't need ocean water for cooling any longer so there's no compelling reason to use valuable, dwindling coastal resources for an industrial use such as a power plant," said Baker.

NRG said emissions from the new plant will be well below California's new greenhouse gas standard. The company said the San Diego Air Pollution Control District determined last year that the proposed facility would meet all ambient air quality standards.

State energy commission staff have recommended approving the project. Hearings on the proposal are scheduled for February 1 in Carlsbad.

NRG Energy said, pending permit approvals, the plant could be operating by 2013.

The company also said the project would create 350 construction jobs in the San Diego region.

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