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Blog: AES Estimates Higher Run Rates for New Plant

New power plant update from AES dramatically increases run times from those briefed to the Redondo Beach city council in November 2011.

In November, officials cited three capacity run rates for their new plant ranging from 15 percent to 30 percent. Councilman Brand, Building a Better Redondo and NoPowerPlant.com responded that this was unrealistically low and that new plants recently had been permitted around 60 percent capacity. AES and others cried that we were misleading the people.

Well, AES recently sent the city a project update dated May 1. In this report, they revealed they will seek a permit for 76 percent capacity, exceeding the 60 percent we projected by over 25 percent. They also project their "expected" run times to be between 25 percent and 40 percent. This is a 40 percent increase from the numbers they quoted in November last year. 


In the report, AES also announces they have again changed the size of the plant to 528 megawatts. This represents a decrease of about 16 percent from what they briefed in November. But when combined with the dramatic increase in run rate, it results in a net increase in electricity and emissions produced.

So, we were right. The numbers AES cited in the November marketing pitch were unrealistically low. We are awaiting a public apology from AES and the others who said we were misleading the public ... but we are not holding our breath. 

The real comparison should be the emissions from the current plant to those of the new plant. To get an idea of that comparison, we used emissions data submitted for the brand new plant being built in El Segundo and extrapolated to the size and projected run times used in the latest AES reports. We then compared these emission numbers to those reported by AES in 2010. For example, in 2010 AES reported they produced 2,600 pounds of particulate emissions. In that year, plant ran at about 5 percent annual capacity, which is representative of recent years. 

At the low end, using the "expected" 25 percent run rate cited by AES, the new plant would produce 1,300 percent more particulate pollution.  At AES's "expected" high end of 42 percent run rate, the new plant would produce 2,300 percent more particulate pollution. 

The AES report is quick to point out that will use newer technologies cleaner than any current plants, but does anyone really believe the new technology will reduce pollutants by 1,300 percent?  I don't. 

AES says we mislead the public, but they fail to provide any evidence or numbers to show where we are wrong. Why don't they just give us their projections based on the specific equipment they cite in the report? 

Report after report shows the plant will not be needed for grid reliability after their current contract runs out in 2018. Why should residents have to suffer increased pollution for power that is not needed?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Another Concerned Citizen June 09, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Jim- If the power is not needed the plant will never run, and thus will create no problem. You're really not helping your cause... What gives THEM the right to impact surrounding businesses? They were there first. The Other businesses/residences moved in AFTER the powerplant was operational. They have all the right in the world to continue to do on their property what it was zoned for originally. Again, jim, you're not helping your cause, only showing how ignorant you are.
Jane June 09, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Brand and Light really need to get on one side of the FACTS or the other. If the plant is not needed, as they say, then building a plant will just result in a stranded asset that won't run. It'll be extra. But on the other hand, they're quick to say "gee, we told ya, if they build it, it will run all the time" - meaning - it must be needed, since all dispatch is done by CAISO, and they ONLY run needed plants. So, get your legs back on one side of the fence or the other.
Jane June 09, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Sheri - can I call you Sheri to be personal? Your knowledge of inertia, network physics, voltage support, thermal requirements and transients is undoubtedly so large that all of us should bow in your electrical engineering presence. Do you feel more respected now for all the factual knowledge that you have had bestowed on you? However, I doubt you'd know an i-squared-R if it bit you squarely in the rump. But yet you're quick to pass judgment on qualified opinions that disagree with you. Let me guess. Registered Democrat. Liberal. Obama supporter. Don't shave your armpits and legs. Have I got it about Queen Sheri? Ever been on Ellen to do push-ups with your mentor? Nice try yelling foul at everyone who disagrees, but the reality is, your opinion is vacuous.
Jim Light June 10, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Jane, I think YOU need to do a little research. Look at any of the recent ISO projections, listen to the ISO reps testimony to City Council and you will find that there is excess capacity in our section of the grid for as far as the ISO projects. So we have those facts straight. Then research the CEC approval process and it is geared to approve not deny new plants whether they are surplus or not. You need look no further than the current plant. In recent years it has run at about 5% of capacity. It's not needed but we as rate payers pay for it to sit idle. We do know the facts Jane. It appears you do not. I don't mind people not understanding, but to attack with misinformation is disturbing. I was once taught it is better to keep quiet and let people think you are ignorant than it is to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Paul David Moses June 10, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Jane- Your character assassination of Sheri Patterson is way off base and completely wrong. Furthermore, improving the community does not know partisanship.

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