Chula Vista’s Dynegy energy plant to be destroyed tomorrow

Expect rolling thunder across the bay

The Dynegy South Bay energy plant in Chula Vista — described by some environmentalists as a fossil-fuel-burning monster — gets blown sideways tomorrow, February 2. People who want to see the two-minute event should go to Marina View Park before the 7 a.m. detonation.

The plant was built in the late 1950s and went online in 1960; three more units fired up in 1962, 1967, and 1971. At its peak, the plant annually generated 700 megawatts of power and chugged an estimated 5800 tons of emissions into the air.

The Port of San Diego acquired the plant in 1998 and leased it to Duke Energy in time for the electricity deregulation scandal of the early 2000s, in which Duke was a major player.

Port commissioner and former Chula Vista councilman David Malcolm got himself in trouble for accepting $20,000-per-month payments from Duke while he was on the Port board — without telling any of his colleagues or the public about his consulting contract with Duke.

Though Malcolm was absent from the press conference celebrating tomorrow's demolition, he was widely praised for his involvement in the plant's fate by former Chula Vista mayor Shirley Horton (who made no mention of Malcolm being convicted of a felony that was later reduced to a misdemeanor for his involvement with Duke).

The 165-foot-tall structure, once described as one "that scars and disfigures the Chula Vista bayfront," will be replaced with a 24-acre park, a 14-acre RV park, and a mixed-use business development.

The planned explosion tomorrow will come from 200 pounds of detonating explosive that triggers 300 pounds of dynamite, which will create about 21,000 tons of scrap metal.

Port of San Diego real estate manager Kristine Zortman said the blast should sound like "rolling thunder across the bay." If winds are higher than 15 mph, the demolition will be delayed.

The demolition is being handled by Silverado Contractors from Emeryville, California, and is being done with the blessing of the activists at the Environmental Health Coalition.

"It's ironic that tomorrow we'll be celebrating blowing up this power plant and tonight we'll be protesting plans for more fossil-fuel power plants in the future," said Laura Hunter, of the coalition.

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The U-T reported that the implosion work is being done by Dykon Explosive Demolition Corp. (based in my home town of Tulsa). Maybe Dykon can work on the Hotel Churchill next!

Dykon is the explosives subcontractor, Silverado is overseeing the whole demolition - demolishing what's left behind. (I think we should put together a list of potential projects and have a weekend Dykon party.)

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