It remains unclear when Redondo Beach can make real plans to redevelop part of the AES power plant in the city — but officials have made clear they want it to be sooner rather than later.
And whether state representatives will heed that preference is a lingering question.
The City Council formally opposed a proposed two-year extension of the plant’s operations during its meeting last week, and the panel’s members are set to testify against the plan at a public hearing with the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday, Oct. 19.
The water board during that meeting will weigh whether to operate the plant through Dec. 31, 2023, their years beyond its initial closure date — and two years later than the current date it’s set to shutter, which is Dec. 31 this year.
All of the state’s ocean-cooled water plants were originally scheduled to close by the end of 2020 because of the harm they impose on marine life when sucking in sea water. The water board made that decision in 2010.
But last year’s heat wave, caused rolling blackouts, led to fears of future energy shortages, so the water board changed course. It extended operations at plants in Long Beach, Huntington Beach and Oxnard until 2023. But the agency, after lobbying from Redondo Beach, extended operations for the power plant in that city until the end of this year.
The proposal before the water board, coming amid forecasts of similar power issues next year, would give the Redondo plant to same closure schedule as the rest.
Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand has fought for nearly 20 years to replace the plant with open green space. Once the plant is decommissioned, city officials have said, Redondo will work to turn up to half of the site into parkland.
But those plans have run into multiple obstacles — including the power facility’s continuing operation.
Developer Leo Pustilnikov, the site’s owner, pulled out of a deal last year to sell part of the plant to Redondo. Then earlier this year, the city lost a $4.8 million California Natural Resources Agency grant for the proposed waterfront redevelopment as a direct result of Pustilnikov’s decision. That state grant requires a willing seller of land that could be redeveloped.
The deal with Pustilnikov would have seen the city pay $2 million dollars an acre for up to 25 acres.
Pustilnikov bought the site for $28 million, according to AES records, with the sale closing last year.h2 data-curated-ids="" data-relation-type="automatic-primary-tag"">
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The land value at the time of sale was $24 million, according to AES reports, and the plant got $41 million in pre-tax gain on the sale.
The Los Angeles County Assessor, however, assessed the value of the primary site’s 22 acres at $66 million this year. The rest of the 50-acre total site are exempt from property taxes, so are not included in the assessment.
With the true value unknown, city officials said, they won’t know how the county views the entire 50 acres and what the city can acquire until the plant ceases to operate.
“We’ve got to show up,” Brand said, “and make it clear to the water board that they need to stick to the dates they set.”
If you watch
Tune into the State Water Resources Control Board public hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, at video.calepa.ca.gov/#/. Submit comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source : https://www.dailybreeze.com/2021/10/18/redondo-beach-aes-power-plant-closing-dec-31-not-so-fast-state-officials-may-say/746