CARLSBAD, Calif. -- The California Energy Commission has temporarily approved permits to build a new power plant in Carlsbad, but members heard new evidence and public concern at a hearing Monday night which the city hopes will make the commission change its mind.
Many residents don't want a second power plant built on the beach in Carlsbad. Richard James who was born in Carlsbad, remembers what happened when the first plant went up in the early 1950's.
NRG Energy Inc. wants to build a 558-megawatt gas-fired power plant near the site of its Encina power plant along the shore. But the City of Carlsbad strongly opposes the plant, and wants the state energy commission to deny the request because it would seriously compromise the regions coastal environment and tourism economy. The city believes ocean front property is not where a plant should be built.
"Today's modern power plants are air cooled, so they don't need to be by the water at all," said Kristina Ray, Communications Manager for the City of Carlsbad.
If the permits get the final approval, two 14-story smoke stacks and several industrial buildings would be built alongside the old obsolete structure.
"We think that it's very important that that old plant be torn down," said Ray. "It can't operate after 2017 because it uses ocean water for cooling, and that's not allowed anymore. But we want to make sure that plant gets torn down, so people in the community can use that land."