AES Power Plant in Redondo Beach Debates Closure by 2023. Why is it even a question?

Vivian De Waart

On March 30 of 2020, Applied Energy Sources corporations (AES corp.) finalized a sale of their power plant in Redondo Beach to a real estate developer, Leo Pustilnikov. The power plant takes up 51 acres of a coastal front. Redondo Beach citizens want the power plant to be closed by the original date of December of 2020. However, according to a L.A. Times article, the Public Utilities Commission urged for an extension as they believe they will not produce enough energy during that time to power homes during the summer. The plant needs to be closed by 2023 and it should be closed indefinitely. 


Under State Policy, the power plant must either shut down their energy generators or stop sucking ocean water for cooling. This process harms marine life extremely. 


In AES’s deal, the state agreed to give the power plant an extension until 2023 to give AES an opportunity to find and use clear energy sources. If that is not done by 2023, it is likely that the power plant will shut down in 2023.


In addition to this deal, Pustilnikov must free up 25 acres for parkland in return for the three-year extension. The shorter amount of time in an extension also means less land that needs to be given up for wetland preservation. According to an article by Evan Symon on the California Globe, a two-year extension gives 12 acres and one year only gives four acres. 


Money is also a key factor in these decisions. Pustilnikov gains $14.6 million from AES corp. for the three year extension and two and one-year plans would get him $6.5 million and $1.5 million respectively. 


This leaves a slightly biased decision to be made on both ends. Pustilnikov gains more money from AES corp for the longer amount of time the AES power plant is open. However, a longer extension means Pustilnikov must give up more reserved land for a park and nature reserve. 


Questions about if the plant is going to close indefinitely is still in the works. At least half of the land is set to be preserved for parkland. The plant was originally built on wetlands and the public would like to see a park open up again. 


For one, the mayor of Redondo Beach, Bill Brand, is for the opening of a park and a closure to the power plant. 


“I’ll be jumping up and down when we cut the ribbon on the park… if I’m still capable,” Brand said (Rosenfeld). 


A limit to the plant’s land and forcing AES to use cleaner energy sources is a step in the right direction. Nonetheless, it doesn’t excuse the public’s opinion of the plant itself. About 21,000 people live within a mile radius of the plant and are forced to breathe in the emissions this plant creates. This leaves people with an unhealthy way of living that many of them may not even be aware of. Junior Kiana Brady is one who lives in relatively close proximity to the plant. 


“The plant itself is very ugly and takes up a lot of space by the ocean,” said Brady, “It just makes me that much more worried to be breathing in gases from the power plant.”


This power plant harms marine life and human life to a great extent and must be closed down to help our environment and preserve valuable land. The plant has already been guaranteed its extension until 2023, but it is important for the plant to shut down afterward. 


It is crucial for the sake of life on Earth to limit pollutants. If we don’t find cleaner energy sources not just for this powerplant, but all others around the world, our future may not be as bright.