Effective Dec. 11 at 11:59 p.m., the Encina Power Station, which has been a dominant fixture along Carlsbad’s coastline since the 1950s, will official retire, according to a letter sent by the plant’s owner, NRG, to the California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 10. This milestone marks the next step in a lengthy process to eventually remove the plant from Carlsbad’s coastline so the property can be put to uses more appropriate to its coastal location.
At a Glance
The 1950s era Encina Power Station has been replaced by a smaller, more environmentally friendly power plant.
The old plant will be removed within three years.
NRG owns the property and will determine its future use, with input from the community and the city.
In mid-2015, the California Energy Commission gave NRG approval to build a smaller, more environmentally friendly plant that would run only during periods of peak demand. Under state law, the old plant had to stop operating because it used ocean water for cooling, something that is no longer allowed. The new plant, which is now up and running, is farther east on the property and recessed into a basin where old storage tanks used to be located.
What does this mean for Carlsbad? Before agreeing to support the approval of the new plant, the city negotiated an agreement with NRG and SDG&E to help ensure the project would provide the greatest local community benefit possible. Some of the provisions of this agreement include:
A guarantee that NRG will completely decommission, demolish and remediate the old Encina Power Station site within three years of Encina’s retirement, at no cost to taxpayers.
NRG will turn over to the city several pieces of property surrounding the lagoon and the blufftop across from the plant.
NRG will work with the city and the community to create a plan for the site’s future use.
What can go on the site? Here is what the city's General Plan says about the future of this site: The General Plan envisions redevelopment of the Encina Power Station, as well as the adjacent SDG&E North Coast Service Center, with visitor-serving commercial and open space uses to provide residents and visitors enhanced opportunities for coastal access and services, reflecting the California Coastal Act’s goal of “maximizing public access to the coast.”
The city is currently updating its "Local Coastal Program," a set of policies that guide land use in the coastal zone, similar to how the General Plan guides land use in other parts of the city. Under the Coastal Act, cities must have a Local Coastal Program that shows how they will manage the development and conservation of coastal resources.