I’m here at the Hermosa Beach City Council meeting where Redondo Beach Mayor, Steve Aspel, came to speak tonight – originally about the bicycle project on Harbor Drive and Herondo.
But he preempted that with very big announcement about AES power plant. He told the Hermosa Council that he hadn’t even spoken to his own Council members about this yet – but earlier today AES issued a press release saying they intended to put an initiative on the March 2015 ballot that will propose the elimination of the power plant and a mixed residential, commercial, hotel and open space development in its place.
It’s only a press release at the moment and not yet an official proposal but it’s the first time AES has ever offered to eliminate their power plant. They have basically capitulated to the No Power Plant grassroots group and have admitted for the first time that the Redondo power plant is superfluous and not needed to generate our power.
“Since power generation is our core business, we’re still making progress on our plans to replace 3,500 MWs of power generation at our three existing power plants in Redondo Beach, Alamitos and Huntington Beach with new, modern facilities,” said AES Southland’s Eric Pendergraft. “At the same time, we’ve been working on a plan that would enable us to close our Redondo Beach plant and revitalize the site in a way that allows us to receive fair value for our property.”
“If approved by voters, the ‘Harbor Village Initiative’ would make this possible,” said Pendergraft. “Meanwhile, we’ll continue moving forward with our efforts to replace our Alamitos and Huntington Beach power plants with new natural gas plants and energy storage facilities.”
I spoke to Mayor Aspel about this surprising development development and he sounded both excited and determined about it.
“You know, Joe,” he said, “This is going to slow down the CenterCal development if it passes. They’ll have to coordinate those two developments across the street from each other.”
Mayor Aspel also added that he wasn’t going to allow AES to develop open space in a piecemeal fashion. He wants it grouped together for a large open space.
I said to him, “Well whatever AES is offering in terms of development – 600 condos, a hotel, commercial development and open space – that’s all negotiable. If you can get AES to withdraw their plans for a new power plant, and then negotiate what will be in its place, that would be a good thing and South Bay 350 would back that.
Aspel said, “That’s exactly what the situation would be, negotiable – and we’d be rid of that damn plant.”
Stay tuned for what happens next.