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The Unified Port of San Diego rejected a plan today to build a replacement power plant on Chula Vista’s bay front. The 4-0 decision directed the port’s staff to play an assisting role in developing a power plant site off the port’s tidelands.

“Hopefully that should put the nail in the coffin,” Port Commissioner Mike Najera said.

New Jersey-based LS Power, which operates the aging South Bay Power Plant, had proposed building a smaller, more efficient plant adjacent to the existing structure on Chula Vista’s bay front. Doing so, the company argued, was the fastest and surest way to remove the state-designated reliability label that requires the existing plant to operate.

Last month, Chula Vista’s City Council rejected the replacement plan. The port followed suit today.

But just because they want to see the behemoth power plant torn down doesn’t guarantee that it will happen. The state requires the aging plant to operate to ensure local electricity reliability — to prevent the rolling blackouts that paralyzed the region during the energy crisis.

Unless new energy sources are tapped, the reliability label will be stuck on the existing plant, preventing its demolition.

We’ll have more on this later today.

ROB DAVIS

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