Noise and traffic worries emerge at a public meeting days before AES starts construction on its new H.B. power plant

With a new AES power plant slated to start construction Monday in Huntington Beach, the company held a public meeting Wednesday night to field questions from the community.

About 40 people showed up at John Eader Elementary School to hear specifics about the plant and the construction plans.

The facility, intended to produce up to 844 megawatts of energy per day (enough to power 675,000 to 844,000 households at a time) will replace the company’s current 1950s-era seaside plant at 21730 Newland St.

Many of the speakers Wednesday were concerned about potential noise issues during construction.

To help alleviate such disturbances, the company will restrict the work hours to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, AES representative Kris Larson said. Work will be suspended on Sundays and holidays, with some exceptions, he said.

“We are trying to stay a good neighbor in the community,” company representative Josh Wynia said.

Residents also were concerned about traffic and parking.

Larson said equipment will be stored at the Magnolia Tank Farm site during construction and that a new entrance will be built for the facility so trucks will be restricted to driving to Pacific Coast Highway from the farm and then up Newland Street to get to the power plant.

Workers will park on Newland.

The California Energy Commission authorized the license for the new plant in April.

It is expected to be completed by March 1, 2020.

The plant is planned be built in two phases — the first with a 644-megawatt generator and the second with two 100-megawatt generators.

The company has a contract with Southern California Edison for the 644-megawatt generator. There currently is not a purchasing agreement for the two 100-megawatt generators. They will not be built if they can’t be contracted, according to AES spokeswoman Dalia Gomez.

The facility is expected to improve on the existing one in several ways, including replacing the use of seawater to cool the plant.

State legislation passed in 2010 limits a power plant’s ability to use seawater. At the time, environmentalists said the large pipes that take in water inadvertently suck sea life into the tubes, sometimes killing them.

The new facility will use air-cooled condensers, a system similar to how a car radiator cools an engine, Gomez said.

It also will use 50% less fuel to deliver the same electrical services, significantly cutting emissions, Gomez said.

And it will be smaller, with a “sleeker” look intended to fit in with Huntington Beach’s surf culture.

The company has set up a hotline, (888) 372-5633, for residents to call with questions.

benjamin.brazil@latimes.com

Twitter:@benbrazilpilot

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