Carlsbad Power Plant Coming Down?


Carlsbad 1958: the commissioning and grand opening of the Encina Power Station also known as the Carlsbad Power Plant. Now, more than 60 years later, the Encina Power Station has been decommissioned and the smokestack that holds the image of Carlsbad itself may be coming down.

A variety of proposals have been submitted on what to do with the Encina Power Station, including the construction of a new desalination plant. Ultimately the City of Carlsbad opted for a natural gas plant. Natural gas plants utilize gas from wells under the Earth and remove the water and natural gas condensate before turning this natural gas into oil. Although burning natural gasses releases 50 to 60 percent less carbon-dioxide, natural gas plants still pollute the air around them and are a large contributor to global warming.

NRGEnergy, the company that owns Encina Power Station, is planning to demolish the now out of commission station and replace it with a modern and reliable 500-megawatt natural gas plant. The construction is expected to take three years. NRG claims that their new plant will be 30 percent more efficient than their current station and create more than 200 new jobs.

Taken from NRGEnergy
An overhead view of the Encina Power Station which powers our city. The grand opening of this station was in 1958, but now the station may be coming down.


“This project will help ensure a reliable energy supply for our region while freeing up precious coastal land for the benefit of the public. This supports our community’s vision for the future,” Gary Baberio, the Carlsbad Assistant City Manager, commented.

This proposal has not been met without criticism.

“It’s a beacon for me. I look for it and I’d miss it if it were gone,” Anne Estes, who is with the Carlsbad Historic Preservation Commission, commented.

Residents of Carlsbad had an opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions at a city hall meeting on Sept. 9.

“Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London has Big Ben, Seattle has the Space Needle and we have the Carlsbad Power Plant,” one woman said.

Although no one from NRGEnergy has responded to our emails, the company has issued a statement claiming, “The demolition of Encina will begin a new chapter for the site. While NRG is exploring options for the Encina site, no [permanent] decisions regarding its future have been made at this time.”