California faces a crossroads on the path to 100% clean energy

By Sammy Roth | Los Angeles Times Link to article

Bill Brand spent two decades fighting to get the waterfront power plant in Redondo Beach torn down and replaced with a public park. Until recently, he was sure he had won.

Regulators had set a deadline of Dec. 31, 2020, for owner AES Corp. to shutter the hulking power plant, whose smokestacks are bordered by a marina, six acres of wetlands and some of the most densely populated neighborhoods on the California coast. Plans were coming together for the city to purchase half the site — a triumph for Brand, whose campaign for open space and cleaner air had fueled his rise from activist to Redondo Beach mayor.

Then state officials had a last-minute change of heart.

In a unanimous vote last month, the California Public Utilities Commission said the gas-burning facility should be allowed to keep operating through 2022. The commission said the Redondo Beach facility — and three other coastal gas plants also slated for closure or rebuilding — is needed to keep reliable electricity flowing to Southern California residents for a few more years, until utilities can fully replace them with non-polluting resources.

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