Fellows in the News

NRG Energy vowed on Wednesday (July 2014) 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 or sooner.

"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 Conservancy.

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