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South Bay Power Plant Will Run Through 2011

Agency Decision Puts Chula Vista Bayfront Development On Hold

Audio

Aired 9/10/10

The agency that runs California's electrical grid has decided that the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista will continue to operate through 2011. The news comes as a disappointment to the city, which wants the plant out of the way for new bayfront development.

The agency that runs California's electrical grid has decided that the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista will continue to operate through 2011. The news comes as a disappointment to the city, which wants the plant out of the way for new bayfront development.

The California Independent System Operator (CAL ISO) said two units at the South Bay Power Plant are needed for 2011 to ensure electricity reliability.

The South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista is set to be demolished, after shutting down operations earlier this year.
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Above: The South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista is set to be demolished, after shutting down operations earlier this year.

The facility operates under "reliability must-run," or RMR, contracts to prevent outages.

Environmental groups and Chula Vista want the power plant torn down to make way for bayfront projects that will create jobs.

Laura Hunter is with the Environmental Health Coalition. She was in Sacramento when the CAL ISO board voted 4-1 to keep the power plant operating.

"They admitted on the record that they do not need it for next year," said Hunter. "They admitted that we are tens, if not hundreds, of megawatts over what is needed for the most dire emergency and hypothetical scenario."

CAL ISO said it's working with neighborhood and business groups to find replacement sources of power so the plant can be shut down.

Hunter said in the meantime, groups may ask the Port of San Diego to end the lease for the operators of the facility. She said this may be another way to hasten the plant's closure.

Hunter said a master plan to develop Chula Vista's waterfront is on hold as long as the plant remains in operation.

She said the plan includes developing about 500 acres; the South Bay Power Plant is roughly 100 acres.

"But developers do not want to invest billions of dollars in a hotel or condo if the view out the window is of the power plant," said Hunter. "So the continued presence (of the plant) undermines the whole project."

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