The California Coastal Commission has unanimously approved a Coastal Development Permit for the demolition of the South Bay Power Plant, located at 990 Bay Boulevard in Chula Vista. The issuance of the Coastal Development Permit is a precursor to the City of Chula Vista issuing a demolition permit.
The Coastal Commission approved a motion to demolish the plant and its above-ground structures at its June 14 meeting, held in Huntington Beach, California. Commissioners included special conditions of approval, to reduce potential impacts to nearby sensitive habitats and coastal waters.
The Commissioners agreed that with these conditions, the project would conform to applicable Coastal Act policies and would adequately mitigate for the proposed impacts.
"Over the past decade, there has been great work happening to support the vision of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan and the Commissioners' unanimous decision today helps us move closer to creating a world-class resort and residential destination on our portion of San Diego Bay," said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox. "With the power plant gone, public access to the waterfront will eventually improve and environmental resources will be preserved around future development."
The proposed project will remove the South Bay Power Plant's above-ground power block, which consists of two large structures that contain the plant's boiler and turbine generator. Dynegy South Bay, LLC, would first remove any remaining hazardous materials and the remaining equipment. Remaining equipment includes piping, lights, controls, duct work and tanks. Dynegy South Bay, LLC, has already completed asbestos removal pursuant to Air Pollution Control District requirements.
It is expected that the boiler structure would be demolished using implosion, due to its heavy steel framework. This would be conducted in phases, to reduce the area of disturbance. The project also includes removing warehouses, storage buildings, tanks and ancillary equipment.
The project is expected to generate about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals, including iron, steel, aluminum and copper. It may also generate up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, such as wood or plastic, which will be recycled and salvaged when feasible.
Special conditions for approval of the permit require that the project be subject to other regulatory permits and approvals that will address air quality, waste management, noise and other issues and that Dynegy South Bay, LLC, the power plant's former operator, provide copies of those permits prior to issuance of the Coastal Development Permit. Additionally, the proposed implosion of the plant's power block must occur outside of sea bird nesting season and require noise monitoring during project activities. Commissioners also specified that project-related lighting be directed downward and away from offsite areas.
"The issuance of this Coastal Development Permit is a significant first step in the demolition of the South Bay Power Plant," said Ann Moore, Vice Chair of the Board of Port Commissioners and the City of Chula Vista's representative on the Board. "We believe the removal of the power plant will have a positive effect on the community and will help to encourage development of the Chula Vista bayfront."
The demolition activities are expected to take about 12 months, beginning in late 2012. To avoid potential impacts to nesting birds, any implosion activities would take place outside of nesting season, which ends in September and starts back up in April each year.
Background on the South Bay Power Plant
The South Bay Power Plant is comprised of 150 acres of land and 242 acres of water. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) was its first operator when the plant began generating power in 1960.
In 1999, the Port of San Diego acquired the plant from SDG&E, with the purpose of facilitating its removal from the bay front. Since then, the plant was operated by Duke Energy, LS Power and Dynegy South Bay, LLC. The Port currently has a lease with Dynegy South Bay, Inc.
In October of 2010, Dynegy South Bay, LLC. received a letter from the California Independent Systems Operator terminating the Reliability Must Run status of the South Bay Power Plant and clearing the way for decommissioning and associated remediation of the site. Since then, the Port of San Diego and Dynegy South Bay, Inc. have diligently worked toward the ultimate goal of removal of the South Bay Power Plant and remediation of the site.
On January 1, 2011, Dynegy South Bay, LLC. began decommissioning the South Bay Power Plant. Asbestos abatement began on August 2, 2011.
The Port of San Diego is working in partnership with the City of Chula Vista on the expedited removal of the power plant. On February 16, 2011, staff from the City of Chula Vista met with Port of San Diego staff and developed a team charter that outlines the cooperative nature of a demolition project scope benefiting the public.
On March 1, 2011, the City adopted a resolution to support the expedited demolition.
On October 26, 2011, the Port announced that it had come to an agreement with Dynegy South Bay, LLC on the demolition and remediation of the South Bay Power Plant. The agreement states that Dynegy South Bay, Inc. will approach the project as a two-step process, focusing on removing the above-ground structures first.
On November 3, 2011, Dynegy South Bay, LLC submitted a Coastal Development Permit application to the California Coastal Commission.
In May 2012, Dynegy South Bay, LLC announced the selection of Silverado Contractors, Inc., an Oakland, California-based demolition contractor, to perform demolition activities.
About the Port:
The Port of San Diego is the fourth largest of the 11 ports in California. It was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested millions of dollars in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.
The Port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 17 public parks, the Harbor Police Department, and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.
The Port of San Diego is an economic engine, an environmental steward of San Diego Bay and the surrounding tidelands, and a provider of community services and public safety.
About the City of Chula Vista:
The City of Chula Vista is located at the center of one of the richest cultural, economic and environmentally diverse zones in the United States. It is the second-largest City in San Diego County with a population of nearly 250,000. Chula Vista boasts more than 50 square miles of coastal landscape, canyons, rolling hills, mountains, and a variety of natural resources and quality infrastructure. Established neighborhoods, contemporary communities, start-up firms, corporations, nationally recognized entertainment venues, the nation's only warm weather Olympic Training Center, an award winning nature center and a historic downtown all contribute to Chula Vista's attraction for both families and businesses.