Oxnard Planning Division: Potential Sites for New Energy Plants

By Sheryl Hamlin 

The Oxnard Planning Division (Editor’s note: the initial version of this article incorrectly identified the Planning Commission as perpetrating that action) has produced a report showing proposed alternatives for the new power plant which could supplement or replace the aging Mandalay Beach power plant in Oxnard.

The sites are as follows:


The Santa Paula site has been proposed by Calpine, a competitor of NRG, the owner of the Mandalay Power Plant, who made an unsolicited bid to acquire CalPine in 2008. This bid was rejected by Calpine. Note that the CalPine Santa Paula site is in Mission Rock, the scene of the 2014 explosion for which executives have been indicted.


Several important points:

  • The proposed height is 80’, which is about a 7 story building. This plant will be lighted at night and thus visible from 126 and up the hillsides.
  • The slide says there is “recycled water”, but the Santa Paula Water Treatment Plant does not as yet produce recycled water and the upgrade is estimated in the millions. Does CalPine propose to pay for this upgrade?

Previously Santa Paula Council Member Jim Tovias submitted this testimony to the CPUC.  Citizens of Santa Paula subsequently expressed concerns here and here about this plant, particularly the lack of transparency in the testimony of Mr. Tovias.

Supervisor Long testified to the CEC (California Energy Commission) in August 2015 about the desirability to consider addition sites, in particular the Santa Paula site because it would “lessen the potential for adverse environmental effects”. What would bring her to the conclusion that the Santa Paula site would “lessen the potential for adverse environmental effects”?  In 2014, the Ventura County Supervisors granted a non-exclusion lease to Mission Rock Energy Company, LLC (a CalPine company) for county land adjacent to the Todd Road jail, also on county land. Having this approval allowed CalPine to compete for this project. As the letter states, there will be new power lines across this area, also visible from 126 and beyond.


This also brings up the question about Vice Mayor Hernandez’ knowledge and involvement in this proposed peaker plant in 2014 when he was a sitting council member. With two council members, Hernandez and Tovias, obviously aware of this project, why would this not be brought forward to the public?


For more information about the author, visit sheryhamlin.com

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Steven Nash

The Oxnard Planning Commission had nothing to do with this. The report appears to have been spearheaded by Dr. Chris Williamson, City of Oxnard Planning Division Director.

Citizen Reporter

that’s right- planning Dept. I will contact Sheryl and change that- thanks- Steve.