In a decision that has not received wide publicity, the California Coastal Commission has approved Southern California Edison’s proposed Oxnard peaker plant.
The wisdom of this decision, made in mid-April, was borne out on May 5 when the Jesusita Fire above Santa Barbara threatened to cut power across a wide swath of South Santa Barbara County.
Without the Oxnard peaker, Edison would have no way to rapidly rebalance its system in the event of a large, fire-driven outage. However, the ability to get a quick-start peaker plant online will give Edison a way to keep power flowing in a reliable way to the South Coast, Ojai or the Heritage Valley in the event of a fire or other natural disaster.
This was a rare pro-business decision for the Coastal Commission. But a very sound one.