Regulators recommend that the state reject a Ventura County natural gas plant

A California Energy Commission committee is urging the state to reject a proposal to build a new natural gas plant in Ventura County.

Called the Puente Energy project, the 262-megawatt power plant would be owned and operated by NRG, a Houston-based electricity company. NRG contracted with Southern California Edison to supply power to the utility.

In what the regulators themselves called an “unusual” statement, the two-member committee said that the proposed plant, set for construction on Mandalay Bay in Oxnard, conflicted with state laws and goals for communities and the environment.

“We hereby notify the parties and interested members of the public that we intend to issue a [decision] that recommends denial of the project on the grounds that it creates inconsistencies with LORS [laws, ordinances, regulations or standards] and significant environmental impacts that cannot be mitigated,” Commissioners Janea Scott and Karen Douglas said in their two-page statement.

Southern California Edison said in a statement that the Puente project was competitively chosen and is needed to help meet demand when older power plants close by 2021.

“It is important to remember that the approval for new resources is a very lengthy and costly process, and it is not practical to continually revisit development decisions, as this can make it more difficult to address reliability needs on the system,” Edison stated.

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