Encina Power Station

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Encina Power Station
CountryUnited States
LocationCarlsbad, California
Coordinates33°08′11″N 117°20′13″W / 33.13639°N 117.33694°W / 33.13639; -117.33694Coordinates: 33°08′11″N 117°20′13″W / 33.13639°N 117.33694°W / 33.13639; -117.33694
Commission date1954
Owner(s)NRG Energy
Thermal power station
Primary fuelNatural gas
Secondary fuelFuel oil
Power generation
Units operational5
Nameplate capacity950 MW

The Encina Power Station (EPS) was a large natural gas and oil-fueled electricity generating plant located in Carlsbad, California, in San Diego County. Constructed in 1954, it was one of the major suppliers of electricity for the region. On December 11, 2018, the plant was put into "retired" status and officially stopped operations. Under an agreement approved by NRG Energy, SDG&E and the City of Carlsbad in January 2014, NRG must tear down the old plant within three years of its retirement. The plant is owned by NRG Energy.[1]


EPS sits on the southern shore of the outer segment of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon; once a stinking pool at low tide, it was opened to a continuous tidal flow to create a cooling system that was constructed along with the plant. Now home to blue herons, ibises, and a multitude of aquatic life, the lagoon is attached to the ocean and other waterways through rising tide levels and various small creeks. The lagoon served as EPS' source for its once-through cooling and is also owned by NRG Energy.

In 2015, Connecticut-based Poseidon Resources Corp. constructed a US$300 million water-desalination plant at the site, adjacent to the power plant.[2] The facility was designed to produce 50,000,000 US gallons (190,000 m3) of drinking water per day, enough to supply about 100,000 homes.[3]


NRG had announced plans to expand the Encina Power Station with the construction of a new 588-megawatt plant on a plot of land adjacent to the current site.[4] This has been met with considerable political opposition by local homeowners and environmentalists.[5] The City of Carlsbad issued an injunction against the construction of a new plant, but as of the summer of 2010 plans for the new plant were still moving forward.[6]

The closing of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)[7][8] about 30 miles north[9] led to city officials approving the new state-of-the-art power plant in January 2014.[10][11] As of May 2014, a gas-fired facility will sit adjacent to the Encina Power Station and eventually replace the 400-ft smokestack.[12] In May 2015, plans to modify the plant to a natural gas facility were approved by the Public Utilities Commission; construction is planned to begin in 2016.[13] On December 11, 2018, the plant ceased power generating operations and is currently being demolished. [14] It was replaced by a 530 megawatt peaker plant known as the Carlsbad Energy Center.[14]


  1. ^ Tenera Environmental. 316 (b) Water Cooling Intake Effects, Entrainment and Impingement Sampling Plan. Rep. San Luis Obispo, 2004.
  2. ^ San Diego County Water Authority. Carlsbad Desalination Project. Retrieved on 2014-05-04.
  3. ^ Kranhold, Kathryn. (2008-01-17) Water, Water, Everywhere... . Online.wsj.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-20.
  4. ^ "Encina Power Plant Expansion Moving Forward despite Opposition." San Diego News Room, 12 Jan. 2010 ; California Energy Commission entry
  5. ^ Joyce, Ed. "Carlsbad Group Opposes Encina Power Plant Expansion | KPBS.org." KPBS San Diego: Public Radio, TV and Web. 11 Jan. 2010.
  6. ^ Burgin, Aaron. "Carlsbad Looks to Extend Ban on Power Plant." San Diego Union Tribune. 9 October 2010.
  7. ^ Lee, Morgan & Garrick, David. Power plant proposal reviving; SDG&E, Carlsbad negotiating with company planning to build 'peaker' plant Dec. 3, 2013. San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved on 2014-05-04.
  8. ^ Wisland, Laura. Will California Go Green or Go Gas? June 24, 2014. Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved on 2014-08-18.
  9. ^ Nemec, Richard. NRG CEO Still Expects OK for SoCal Gas-Fired Plant August 8, 2014. NGI's Daily Gas Price Index Retrieved on 2014-08-18.
  10. ^ Garrick, David. Carlsbad inks deal for new power plant Jan. 14, 2014 San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved on 2014-05-04.
  11. ^ Wright, Ellen. - Proceedings for proposed power plant move forward The Coast News. Aug. 11, 2014. Retrieved on 2014-08-18.
  12. ^ Utility Puts Carlsbad Power Plant on Fast Track - New Power Generator Pursued in Carlsbad 2014-05-28. Retrieved on 2014-08-18.
  13. ^ Lee, Morgan (21 May 2015). "Coastal power plant at Carlsbad approved". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  14. ^ a b Puterski, Steve (2018-12-13). "After 64 years, Encina Power Plant goes dark". The Coast News Group. Retrieved 2019-07-31.