For Immediate Release: October 11, 2013
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Huntington Beach Energy Project Preliminary Staff Assessment Now Available

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission staff has released its preliminary analysis of the proposed Huntington Beach Energy Project in Orange County. The document is being published in two parts.

The first part of the preliminary staff assessment (PSA) was released October 10. Commission staff concluded for all but three technical sections that with the implementation of recommended mitigation measures described in the conditions of certification, the environmental impacts for the proposed 939-megawatt (MW) natural gas power project would be less than significant. It also found that the project would comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards (LORS).

Commission staff is unable to determine if the areas of land use, transmission system engineering, and visual resources complies with LORS and if the impacts can be mitigated. Staff will work to resolve these issues through further information and analysis.

The second part of the PSA will consist of three technical sections: 1) alternatives analysis; 2) air quality; and 3) public health. It is scheduled to be filed 45 days after the Commission receives the preliminary determination of compliance (PDOC) from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The PDOC explains how the project would comply with applicable air quality regulatory requirements, and proposes permit conditions to ensure compliance.

The PSA serves as the staff's initial evaluation of the environmental, engineering, public health and safety impacts of the proposed facility. The PSA is not a decision nor does it contain final findings of the Commission related to the environmental impacts or the project's compliance with local, state and federal legal requirements.

After receiving public comments on the PSA, Commission staff will publish a final staff assessment (FSA). The FSA will serve as Commission staff's testimony at evidentiary hearings held by a committee of two commissioners who are reviewing the project. The committee will issue a proposed decision based on evidence presented at the hearings. The proposed decision will later be presented to the full Commission for a final decision.

The project applicant is AES Southland Development, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of AES Corporation. The proposed natural gas-fired, combined-cycle facility would be located north of the intersection of the Pacific Coast Highway and Newland Street in Huntington Beach. The project would be constructed on a 28.6-acre site located within the existing footprint of the existing Huntington Beach Generating Station that would be demolished and removed.

The new facility would consist of two independently operating, combined-cycle gas turbine power blocks that would replace the existing Huntington Beach facility. It would use dry-cooling to reduce water use and comply with the State Water Resources Control Board’s policy eliminating the use of ocean water for power plant cooling.

If the Commission approves the project, which is estimated to cost between $500 million to $550 million, demolition and construction activities are scheduled between the first quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of 2022. The project would average 192 workers during the construction and demolition period, with a peak of 236. There would be 33 employees when the project is operational, according to the applicant.

The PSA can be found at:

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies. For more information, visit: or

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