Search: desalination plant

Coastal Commission Okays Desalination Plant

by The Editors on November 4, 2009

DescriptionWe keep hearing it referred to as the “last hurdle” and we’re saddened that Poseidon Resources has made it this far, but the California Coastal Commission finally granted a permit that will allow the company to build the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere in our lagoon, according to a Michael Burge story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

With the Coastal Commission permit in hand, Poseidon has met all its regulatory requirements — two years after the Coastal Commission conditionally approved the plant. Poseidon had to satisfy 17 permit requirements before it could begin construction. . . . Peter MacLaggan, Poseidon Resources’ senior vice president, said the coastal permit requires that construction begin in less than two weeks. He said the company next week will start clearing the site, on the grounds of the Encina Power Station on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Now all Poseidon needs is the money to build the plant. They’ need $530 million in financing, $50 million of it from a bond they’re asking the State of California for, according to a story in the North County Times.

State revenue bonds are tax-exempt, which typically allows them to sell for a lower interest rate than for taxable bonds. This lowers the cost for those repaying the bonds; in this case, the local water agencies the desalination plant will serve.

The company is also asking for a $250 per acre foot subsidy from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (which, according to Food & Water Watch could add up to $14 million a year). Nothing like launching a private business on federal and state subsidies, huh?

For more on some of the reason this plant might not be a good idea, click here for the word from Food & Water Watch.

[Link: San Diego Union-Tribune and North County Times]


Desalination Plant Trudges Ahead

by The Editors on February 13, 2009

Poseidon Resources seems to be moving ahead like the Frankenstein monster over everything that gets in the way of it’s plans for a desalination plant in our lagoon. Most recently the San Diego Regional Water Quality board gave the company two months to “wrap up conditions of its permit” according to as story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The board’s executive director, John Robertus, said developer Poseidon Resources had addressed some of the agency’s concerns before Wednesday’s meeting, and the two sides would resolve a list of outstanding issues by the board’s meeting on April 8. . . . The board gave Poseidon a permit in 2006 to discharge effluent from its plant into the ocean, but required a plan to offset fish and other marine life deaths caused by the desalination process. . . . Under a “Marine Life Mitigation Plan,” Poseidon would restore 55 acres of wetlands as nurseries for marine organisms and plants.

We still don’t like it.

[Link: San Diego Union-Tribune via Watertech Online]

{ 1 comment }

Desalination Plant Clears Last Hurdle

by The Editors on August 22, 2008

Today the State Lands Commission voted 3-0 “to approve a lease of state property for a desalination plant in Carlsbad,” according to a story on

Scott Maloni of Poseidon Resources says the company is looking forward to turning seawater into freshwater. “Well we’re done with the permitting process, the five-year process comes to a close. We’ll spend the rest of the year closing construction financing and we expect to break ground the first half of next year.”

Oh, joy. A lagoon full of construction. We can hardly wait.



Desalination Plant Not Carbon Neutral

by The Editors on April 9, 2008


The Voice of San Diego’s Rob Davis weighs in with a story on the Poseidon desalination plant and brings up some good points, namely that the plant will not be carbon neutral nor will it reduce San Diego’s dependency on Northern California water.

Poseidon has not agreed to make the plant carbon neutral, a step that would require the company to zero out the emissions generated by its energy use. Peter MacLaggan, a Poseidon senior vice president, said doing so would render the $300 million project financially infeasible. Instead, Poseidon says the plant will be “net carbon neutral.”


“Poseidon’s proposed project does not ensure a decrease in imported water supplies to the San Diego Region,” a commission staff report states. “Poseidon acknowledges that the State Water Project would continue to pump available water to Southern California users, but then argues that it should still be credited for what would then be a non-existent reduction in emissions.”

Just a couple more things that make us wonder why any of this is worth further damage to the lagoon and of shore sea life?

[Link: Voice of San Diego]


Lawsuits Filed Against Desalination Plant

by The Editors on January 15, 2008

Desal Ariel-1

According to a story in the North County Times (are we quoting them too much these days?) the Surfrider Foundation and the Planning and Conservation League filed lawsuits on Monday January 14, 2008 claiming that “The California Coastal Commission acted illegally when it granted a permit to the proposed $300 million plant despite acknowledging that commissioners needed more information.”

Surfrider representatives say the desalination plant would hurt marine life and Agua Hedionda Lagoon, where the plant would be located, and that Poseidon hasn’t proved otherwise. . . . “The substantive issue of whether they can even mitigate (the harm) is still out there,” said Marco Gonzalez, the lawyer representing the environmental groups.

Of course, Poseidon officials are denying this:

Poseidon Vice President Peter MacLaggan said that over the course of eight years of study, the company has proved the plant will not harm the environment. . . . He said the company is simply working out details with the Coastal Commission and that the suit was without merit. . . . “They’re challenging eight years of environmental research and study by pre-eminent scientists in this field from Scripps that has been reviewed by the various permitting agencies, who all came to the same conclusion — move forward,” MacLaggan said.

We’re happy to see someone standing up to industrialization of the Carlsbadistan environment.

[Link: North County TImes and San Diego Union-Tribune]


Desalination Plant Stalled Again

by The Editors on July 7, 2007

The California Coastal Commission has been on their game lately with Poseidon Resources, the company that wants to put a $300 million desalination plant in on the lagoon near the Encina Power Plant. For the fourth time this year they have rejected the plan saying it is sill “incomplete.”

Commission staff scientist Tom Luster rejected Poseidon’s latest application Tuesday, citing several topics on which he needed more information. Among those were alternative water-intake methods, environmental mitigation measures and the project’s financial feasibility.

While we like the idea of stealing less water from Northern California, it just seems like there must be better places for this than the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. (Click here for all of Carlsbadistan’s desalination plant coverage.)

[Link: San Diego Union-Tribune]

{ 1 comment }

Carlsbad Desalination Plant Survives

by The Editors on June 20, 2007

070620-Split-Ekj-DesalThe Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper, and other groups recently lost a challenge over a discharge permit for the Carlsbad desalination plant, however, KPBS reporter Ed Joyce says that drinkable sea water in Carlsbad is still a long way off.

The $300 million Carlsbad desalination plant would be the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Poseidon Resources says its plant would convert seawater to 50 million gallons of drinking water a day. The plant uses a reverse osmosis process to remove the salt. The saltier byproduct is then sent back out to the ocean. Environmental groups say the process of sucking in and releasing seawater harms marine life.

We don’t know if we’re $300 million thirsty. Are you?

[Link: KPBS]


Surfrider Files Suit Against Desal Plant

by The Editors on April 25, 2010

CarlsbadThe Surfrider Foundation has definitely not thrown in the town on their opposition to the Poseidon Resources Desalination Plant scheduled to be built in the shores of Carlsbadistan’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

The environmental group filed a lawsuit on Earth Day (April 22, 2010) challenging a permit approved by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. Surfrider says that the “facility would kill countless marine organisms, with an illegal plan to replace these fish and other marine life through a restoration project somewhere else.”

“When the law says you must ‘minimize the intake and mortality’ of marine life, that doesn’t mean you can kill millions of marine organisms and then try to replace them somehow,” said Joe Geever, Surfrider Foundation’s California Policy Coordinator. “The Regional Water Quality Control Board misinterpreted the law, and it’s unfortunate the project has progressed this far without a final decision on the type of intake and facility design that meets California’s law to protect our precious marine environment.”

According to Michael Burge story in the San Diego Union-Tribune this is one of six lawsuits that have been filed regarding Poseidon’s plans for the lagoon. Three are still progress.

For the entire Surf Rider release, follow the jump or click here for Carlsbadistan’s coverage of the entire saga.
[click to continue…]


Drinking Water Costs: Desalination vs. GWRS

by The Editors on November 29, 2009

Garry Brown, executive director of Orange County Coastkeeper compares the difference in water cost between a Ground Water Replenishment System operating in Orange County with the cost of water per acre foot from Poseidon Resources proposed Carlsbadistan desalination plant in an editorial for the Daily Pilot.

The total cost of the highly treated [GWRS] drinking water is less than $800 per acre foot. . . We know that ocean desalination is used throughout the world. The costs per acre foot range between $2,000 and $3,000. There is certainly no reason to believe it can be done for less money in Southern California.

He goes on to point out that the only other desalination plant that Poseidon has built went “$40 million over budget, five years late, and has never produced the promised amount of water. In fact, “Poseidon had to be removed from plant operations and replaced by a public agency.” Oddly, the Tampa Bay plant isn’t even listed on the “our experience” page of Poseidon’s website. The only desal plants they list are the as-yet-unbuilt Carlsbad and Huntington Beach facilities.

All of this makes us ask this question: is Poseidon’s real business making drinking water or simply using the promise of water as a means of extracting money from public agencies?

[Link: Daily Pilot]


City Council Scrambles Against NRG’s New Plant

by The Editors on October 17, 2009

Industrial-TmThis Tuesday, October 20, 2009 the Carlsbadistan City Council will be considering the passage of a moratorium on coastal power plants to prevent NRG from putting in its proposed second power plant on the Encina Power Station property, according to a release sent out by the City of Carlsbad.

If passed, this action would prohibit a second power plant proposed by NRG, requiring the state to overrule the city if the plant is to be approved. . . Also under the resolution, no development application will be accepted, processed or approved that would expand the size, location, generating capacity or use of the Encina Power Station for the duration of the moratorium. . . . The resolution under consideration would establish an emergency ordinance on the building or expanding of power plants on Carlsbad’s coast, meaning it would go into effect immediately and could last for up to two years.

Anything that slows the industrialization of the Aqua Hedionda Lagoon is fine by us, but why stop at the power plant? Why not throw in a little rider prohibiting a desalination plant as well? No harm in that really.

Follow the jump for the entire release.
[click to continue…]