Citizens Fight Natural Gas Plant Outside San Diego

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) wants a new natural gas-fired power plant built east of San Diego, but local organizations --including Save the Mission Trails, San Diego Sierra Club and 350.org chapters -- are asking the utility to instead invest in local rooftop solar deployment and energy efficiency.  The utility company argues that the peaker plant is necessary to offset the intermittency of wind and solar, although distributed generation spread out across our urban areas and energy efficiency investments probably would offset any claimed need for more fossil fuel generation.

A rendering of what an industrial energy facility would look like near the Mission Trails, east of San Diego.  Photo from the Save the Mission Trails website.
SDG&E did not bother to show up to a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) meeting where members of the public expressed their concerns, and CPUC again delayed a vote to either reject or accept SDG&E's plans to buy energy from the proposed natural gas plant.  Save the Mission Trails reported on their website that lobbyists and officials from Cogentrix -- the company that would build the power plant for SDG&E -- has been meeting with CPUC officials behind closed doors in an attempt to sway opinion in favor of the project.

Protesters express opposition to SDG&E plans to add more fossil fuel generation and destroy habitat near Mission Trails Regional Park.  Photo by @Kayla_EHC
You may recall that SDG&E previously attempted to impose a fee on owners of rooftop solar claiming that the panels can be a burden on other ratepayers, even though a study by Vote Solar found that distributed solar generation yields net benefits for all ratepayers.  The rooftop solar fee was rejected, but the utility would still rather protect its centralized energy model (and profits) from the expansion of rooftop solar.


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