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Carlsbad Power Plant Project Challenged

The Carlsbad Energy Project is being challenged by environmentalists who don't think regulators fairly considered renewable energy alternatives.

An environmental group is challenging a recent decision by state regulators to approve a new gas fired power plant in San Diego County.

The appeals court challenge is designed to overturn the California Public Utility Commission approval of the Carlsbad Energy Center.

The 550-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant has faced opposition since it was first proposed, but California regulators still approved the plant earlier this year.

The CPUC accepted arguments from San Diego Gas & Electric and the company building the plant that the five generator peaker facility was needed to stabilize the grid and replace power that's not coming from San Onofre.

Photo credit: Associated Press

Power lines make their way over a freeway toward the San Onofre nuclear power plant, June 7, 2013.

Environmentalists, like the Sierra Club's Matt Vespa, wanted more consideration of renewable energy options.

"Its approval came after a proposed decision from an administrative law judge, which dismissed the contract and rejected it because it hadn't allowed clean energy resources a chance to compete," Vespa said.

The Sierra Club's and EarthJustice, the group filing the challenge, argued California didn't need another expensive fossil fuel power plant.

"And this is a multi-billion dollar expenditure. Carlsbad's cost over $2 billion for San Diego customers is resulting in over a three percent rate increase for San Diego customers' electric bills," Vespa said.

A decision on the appeal could come early next year. SDG&E officials said they are reviewing the challenge.

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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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