|On Friday, Oct. 15, the California Independent System Operation Corporation (ISO) notified South Bay Power Plant operator, Dynegy, Inc. the 50 year-old power plant is approved for decommission and demolition. This news comes after the ISO received new information about the power demands in the area. The research indicates the local power requirements are lower than the California Energy Commission (CEC) projections. The lower demand led the ISO to conclude the South Bay Power Plant is no longer needed under a Reliability Must Run status.
Civic leaders have rejoiced at the long awaited news. Said Chula Vista Mayor, Cheryl Cox, "The decision by the California Independent System Operator to terminate Reliability Must Run status for the South Bay Power Plant at the end of 2010 opens the door for establishing a date certain when we can begin to restore habitat, open our waterfront to recreational uses, and create quality jobs on our bayfront. It establishes a certainty that the appropriate parts of our bayfront can be thoughtfully developed, creating opportunities for both residents and visitors. The next steps are to move forward collaboratively with the Port of San Diego in order to pursue the decommissioning and dismantling of the South Bay Power Plant as soon as possible."
Operations at the plant will cease at the end of the year.
Chula Vista Council Member Pamela Bensoussan commented, "The imminent decommissioning of the South Bay Power Plant is very good news for the residents of Chula Vista. Our dreams for a healthier
environment and quality economic development are now on track towards realization. A promise was made in 1999 that this plant would close by 2009. Its continued operation with no end in sight was a considerable detriment to potential bayfront development and a heavy burden on the health of our citizens and the environment. I appreciate the collaborative efforts of all those who worked diligently advocating for the plant's closure. We are now ready to join with the Port of San Diego and Dynegy on planning a responsible yet speedy process for the plant's demolition and site clean-up."
The demolition of the plant will most likely start in 2012 as it takes about a year to secure the permits needed to take action.
The next steps for the City of Chula Vista is to work with the State Lands and Coastal Commissions to move forward on its bayfront development plans. The power plant has been an obstacle for many years in trying to redevelop the waterfront.
"We wanted certainty," said Bensoussan. "We can now attract viable businesses with the certainty of knowing the plant is going away."