Skip to content (press enter)


Is Once Though Cooling Coming Back? Just Say NO!

Please contact the California Public Utilities Commission to let them know that you do not want to extend the life of outdated once-through cooling power plants that are destructive to marine life and contribute to climate change. We want to see investments in new, clean energy, not fossil fuels!

Please email your concerns to with a subject line such as 'No More Once Through Cooling'. You can use some of the points below but the more varied the opposition emails are, the more weight they carry with decision makers. Also, if you are savvy with Twitter, you can contact the Commissioners directly there, click here for their handles.

The problem: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) suspects that there will not be enough electricity for the state in the 2021-2023 time frame, and it is deciding how to address that potential shortfall. Through its proposed decision and press release, the Commission is considering the following options:

  • Extending the retirement deadlines
    for four once-through cooling (OTC) gas plants: Alamitos, Ormond Beach, Redondo
    Beach, and Huntington Beach.
  • Directing utilities, community
    choice aggregators (CCAs), and direct access (DA) providers to buy 2,500 MW of
    new resources, potentially including contracts for new and existing gas plants

OTC Plants Background: California policy from 2010 planned to phase-out all Once Through Cooling (OTC) plants--including gas and nuclear plants--because of the intense environmental and health impacts of those plants. OTC plants each use millions of gallons of ocean water to cool plant equipment, sucking up and destroying wildlife and plants as well as significantly increasing nearby water temperatures. Additionally, OTC gas plants spew thousands of tons of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and criteria pollutants into fenceline communities.

Now, the California Public Utilities Commission wants to use four OTC plants as backup resources, but we want imports and clean resources to be the first step: The Commission says that the OTC plants are needed as bridge resources to get us through the shortage, but utilities, CCAs, and DA providers must prioritize procuring renewables, storage, and demand response resources first. Another option is to contract for imported electricity. We want to explore those options before keeping the OTCs online.

This is a big opportunity for the Commission and electricity providers to make critical investments in cleaner alternatives: We want the Commission to stop clinging to the aging, polluting power plants of the past, and instead to embrace the cleaner technology of the future. The Commission should direct electricity providers to invest in renewables, energy storage, and demand response.  There is a need for these cleaner resources now, and our health and the environment depend on the Commission to make the right choice