NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG Energy) is waiting for an air quality report from the state Energy Commission for a proposed 558 megawatts (MW) power station at the Encina Power Station. The state Energy Commission’s spokesman stated that the report is likely to be issued in one week time and the staff evaluation will be prepared in the succeeding month. The initial timeline stated that the staff evaluation be released 15 months back, and the most recently modified estimate was for spring 2009.

Percy Della, the agency’s spokesman, said “The new target is the first week of July.”

Protesters of the project have asserted that the postponement was another indication that their campaign was gaining impetus.

Julie Baker, one of the leaders of Power of Vision group, an opponent to the project, said “I think more and more things are adding up that prove that this isn’t a good idea for the city.”

While power station protesters emphasized on the recent impediments, supporters of the project stated that holdups are normal in any state assessment of a project.

NRG Energy’s attorney, David Lloyd, asserted that the freeway-widening matter can be resolved.

Lloyd added that its board can take a decision as soon as the Energy Commission has both the air quality document and staff report in hand.

NRG Energy is planning to establish its new power production equipment on the eastern edge of its property, an area between Interstate 5 and the railroad tracks, north of Cannon Road and just south of Agua Hedionda Lagoon. The new machinery, which would involve two 139-foot-tall smokestacks, would supply sufficient power to fulfill the needs of 400,000 homes.

Company officials stated that their objective is to tear down the huge power station structure that now stands toward the coastal part of their site and redevelop that part into housing or shops.

The plan, initially submitted for state evaluation in late 2007, has been a disputed matter between the state, the city of Carlsbad and area residents for several months. Carlsbad’s City Council has formally protested the project, and has issued publicity information to residents concerning the plans.

Protesters have argued that they perceive the new equipment as escalating the use of the site. They stated that there is no assurance regarding when the existing structure would be demolished.

The state Energy Commission has jurisdiction over the power plant project as energy generation is regarded as a matter of statewide concern.

On May 11, 2009, the commission affirmed that it expected the evaluation procedure to be controversial, and clarified when it expected to attain testimony from the parties entailed in the matter.

Commissioners stated in their letter “It now appears that we will be asked to decide several significant, unresolved, hotly contested issues.

Della asserted that those matters include fire department access to the new station, the freeway widening as well as visual appearance matters, and water usage matters.