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Delays expected for power plant

CARLSBAD — A decision by the California Energy Commission regarding the future of a power plant, proposed to be built on the coastal property of the existing Encina Power Station, could be delayed.
If approved, construction on the two new power-generating units, part of the newly proposed Carlsbad Energy Center to be built on the northeast corner of existing Encina Power Station on Carlsbad Boulevard, was to begin later this year, with completion scheduled for 2010.
However, a delay in
the Preliminary Staff Assessment, which was due out this year, could cause delays in the project, Bob Aldrich, spokesman for
the California Energy Commission, said. As a result, the commission may not be able to hold a hearing on the project until early next year, he said.
The city of Carlsbad has taken a position of opposing the addition of the units to the existing plant, and has suggested the entire plant be moved inland so that the property can better serve the residents.
According to Tim Hemig, project manager for NRG West, owners of the facility, the new plant will use “advanced state-of-the-art technology,” which will result in 30 percent fewer emissions than the current power plant, but the air-cooled generating units would still need water to run.
However, Hemig said the new plant will not use ocean water, like the existing plant, but only need some “fresh” water.
That would allow the plant to be located away from the coast.
Exactly where the fresh water would come from is of concern to the city.
NRG complicated things by recently proposing to build its own desalination plant because the plant would need to stay near the coast.
In addition, a lawsuit has already been filed against a recently approved desalination plant to be built on the same property.
The desalination plant, to be built by Poseidon Resources, needs salt water to convert to drinking or potable water, and needs to remain on the property of the existing power plant to utilize their intake and outfall systems.
Both the power plant units and the desal plant were originally scheduled to be running by 2010, but delays could now push things back for the power plant.

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