| SAN FRANCISCO, July 2
SAN FRANCISCO, July 2 NRG Energy vowed
on Wednesday to press ahead with a proposal to build a power
plant in coastal Southern California even after a city council
expressed opposition, citing fears it could be inundated by
rising sea water.
The City Council of Oxnard approved a non-binding moratorium
on the plan to build a natural gas-fired power plant to replace
two of its older facilities, which require major upgrades or
face decommissioning in 2020.
David Knox, communications director for NRG, said that while
the company was disappointed in the outcome of the vote, only
the California Energy Commission, not the Oxnard City Council,
has the power to stop the project.
"We are continuing to move forward with this project
regardless of the moratorium," he said.
"We've looked at the predicted sea level rises and where the
units are going to be and there's not an issue during the life
of these plants," he said.
That was in contrast to climate change modeling maps
developed by The Nature Conservancy and shown to the Oxnard City
Council, projecting that the plants would be under water by 2020
"There's a place for critical infrastructure and it's not
in areas that will be threatened by sea level rise and climate
driven hazards," said Lily Verdone of the The Nature
"We're thrilled with (the council's) decision," she said.
The new plant would sit about 500 feet (152 metres) from the
ocean at high tide.
The California Energy Commission will conduct its own review
of the project before licensing it, which will take into account
sea level rise.
The Oxnard City Council will meet again in the next 45 days
to discuss whether to extend the non-binding moratorium, which
could last for up to two years.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Wills)