You may not have heard about the crap power plant that the City of San Diego wants to put in next to their equally lousy garbage dump. It is titled the Quail Brush Power Plant. So why is everyone in Santee so pissed off about it?
Most people don’t realize that nearly the entire property north of Mast Blvd up to Medina Drive is actually San Diego City Limits. From what most Santee residents can tell, this exists for nothing more than an opportunity to build legacy infrastructure that they don’t want blighting the rest of their city. This is the reason that they have sought to expand the Sycamore Canyon Landfill since Miramar will be projected to close in 2022 and the Gregory Canyon landfill proposal is running into a little more resistance than expected (common sense?)
The flimsy excuse used for the Quai…Actually I will just call it the Screwing Over Santee Power Plant is that it is needed to account for times when their renewable energy is not generating power.
Perhaps San Diego should have a chat with their neighbors in Chula Vista who have enjoyed this oceanfront property since 1960.
<sarcasm>I am stunned that the residents of Chula Vista are not fully appreciating this architectural masterpiece.</sarcasm>
San Diego thinks it is fine to build 11 100 foot stacks that will be seen anywhere there is a view of Santee (You know, Mission Trails, the most popular Regional Park in the entire county.
The effects of this completely unneeded power plant are disproportionately felt by the residents of Santee. It will be less than a mile from one of the City’s two high schools. The air pollution from this plant will be downwind from the San Diego River and Santee Lakes (you know, where you like to go to catch fish…hope you like more mercury in your diet). It will likely also contaminate other reservoirs in East County as well. Don’t believe the crap proponents are trying to pass off that it is environmentally progressive. That is the health equivalent of low-tar cigarettes.
Not only do these unnecessary projects (like the Sunrise Powerlink) blight our county, but guess who bears all the financial risk? It’s not Sempra Energy, it will be paid for by SDG&E rate-payers. The operating company, Cogentrix, isn’t going to live and die by the “success” of this project but East County residents will. I won’t even link to their lousy website, which has a view of North Fortuna Peak in Mission Trails Regional Park, although you might want to hike it now before the 11 smokestacks are operating, the dump is already bad enough.
So what should be done?
The City of San Diego Planning Commission needs to reject the request to initiate an amendment to the East Elliot Community Plan to redesignate a portion of a 22 acre parcel from open space to industrial.
The City of San Diego needs to take serious consideration of transferring all City Limits East of the Sycamore Landfill (they can keep it) to the City of Santee where the local residents affected can actually have a say in the matter.
Utilities, public agencies, and private companies need to come together to actually build a real environmental future. I am not a betting man, but if I were, I am thinking these plants aren’t going to be part of the blueprint. The person or persons who can develop the technology to harness long-term electrical storage generated from renewable energy, as well as increase the capacity of our solar technology to store more of the Sun’s energy (you know, that thing that has been powering the Earth for 4 billion years) is going to be lending money to Bill Gates’ family someday.
Will this happen? Will all of our knowledge, intelligence, and ambition give us the opportunity to chart the power needs of this entire planet in the near future? My instinct says yes, and it also says that it will only happen when that is the only option. That has to come with saying No, saying No again, and saying No once more after that. Only then will the creative power of humanity remove us from the carbon era.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.