Puente Power Plant in Oxnard
- Goal: Preventing another fossil fuel power plant on Oxnard's Coastline
- Year Started: 2015
- Clients Sierra Club, Los Padres Chapter; Environmental Coalition of Ventura County, Environmental Defense Center
Starting in 2015, EDC worked alongside our clients (Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter and Environmental Coalition of Ventura County) and partner groups to prevent a fourth fossil fuel power plant proposed for Oxnard’s beaches. The proposed NRG “Puente Project” would have perpetuated environmental injustice and been constructed in a coastal area vulnerable to sea level rise. Additionally, the proposed site is surrounded by environmentally important areas including the Santa Clara River mouth and estuary, associated wetlands, and rare beach dune and coastal sage scrub habitat supporting western snowy plover, California least tern, tidewater goby, and other endangered or rare species. The proposed project also would have violated City policies prohibiting additional energy facilities in the coastal zone.
EDC represented our clients as intervenors before the California Energy Commission’s permitting proceedings for the Puente Power Plant. Based on our work, the Commission first stalled the process to require additional information regarding the impacts of the proposed power plant on important coastal habitats and wildlife. Subsequently, the California Independent System Operators (CAISO) determined that the plant is not needed to meet the region’s energy needs.
Finally, in December 2019, NRG formally withdrew its application to build the Puente Power Plant. This was a major victory for our environment, for environmental justice, and for our climate. The project would have caused considerable risk to the local community and was at odds with our region’s need and desire to shift toward cleaner, renewable sources of energy. It is also significant as this was also the first time ever that a power plant has been defeated after it had been previously approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.