On October 16, 2017, the developer of the proposed Puente Power Project in Oxnard asked state regulators to suspend review of the plans. The withdrawal was in response to regulators’ recommendation to reject the project all together. NRG asked that the hearings end until the company determines whether it will completely withdraw the application. This is great news that shelves any plan for fossil fuel powered plant in the foreseeable future!
The Puente Power Project (P3) was proposed as an as-needed facility in Oxnard projected to start in 2020 and run for about 40 years. NRG Energy made the proposal that this new plant would accommodate the retirement and permanent removal of two existing units at the Mandalay Generating Station. The new plant will sit on 3 acres of the existing Mandalay Generating Station. The project is designed to minimize environmental impacts, although not listed on their website. The new plant will be built on a previously disturbed site, within the boundaries of an existing power plant, allowing for reuse of the existing structure.
Several Ventura County organizations such as, the VC Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, the Ventura Audubon Society, the Wishtoyo Foundation, and the Ventura Coastkeeper, have been fighting against the proposal. On September 16, 2016, these foundations sent a letter of rebuttal to the California Coastal Commission (CCC). The letter stated that this would be the fourth fossil-fuel power plant to be sited on the City of Oxnard’s beaches. Power plants like Puente do not require a coastal development permit, but it is still necessary to look into the CCC’s regulations. The environmental impacts of this power plant is not fully outlined in NRG’s original proposal. These impacts include vulnerability to sea level rise, damage to wetlands, beach erosion, and environmental justice. The decision paves the way for more renewable energy in Ventura County’s future.
Special guest post written by Summer Lee.