AES Corp. said March 30 that it completed the sale of about 51 acres of coastal land in Redondo Beach, Calif., the location of its AES Redondo Beach gas plant, to a private developer in a deal that includes a commitment to shut the plant, whose oldest operating unit dates back to the mid-1950s, by the end of 2023.
AES shut down one 506-MW unit at the gas-powered Redondo Beach plant in October 2019. The retirement was made in compliance with a California Water Resources Control Board policy to phase out the use of "once-through cooling" technology at coastal power plants using marine water for cooling.
The three remaining units at Redondo Beach, with a combined capacity of 841 MW, are scheduled for permanent shutdown in December. However, in November 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission delayed that retirement date and the scheduled retirement dates for other older AES gas plants in the state due to reliability concerns.
The water board is scheduled to consider amendments to the once-through cooling policy and a staff report on the AES plants in July. A draft of the amendments would keep the Redondo Beach plant open through the end of 2021 and other plants to the end of 2023.
"We are committed to balancing the needs of the local communities now and into the future," Lisa Krueger, president of AES US Strategic Business Unit, said in the news release. "This means being able to keep the lights on for the short-term, while committing to a predictable and responsible transition for this beautiful piece of California's coastline."
Real estate developer Leo Pustilnikov bought the property for undisclosed terms and agreed to preserve a portion of the site as public parkland, including several acres of coastal wetlands, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
The transaction also includes the sale of up to 25 acres of open space and the option for the facility to supply power to the Los Angeles region until Dec. 31, 2023, at which point the Redondo Beach plant will be permanently retired.
The city of Redondo Beach will also have the option to purchase up to 15 acres if the power plant is approved to continue operations through 2023.
AES has been working with the new landowner to facilitate the transaction since 2018.