In May 2010, the California’s State Water Resources Control Board adopted a final policy governing the use of coastal and estuarine waters for cooling California’s 19 coastal power plants. The policy will phase out the use of once-through cooling G to protect marine and estuarine life without disrupting the state’s electrical generation and transmission system.
The California policy offers two tracks for power plants to reduce the impacts of once-through cooling systems. “Track 1” requires the use of the best technology available at existing power plants, which is closed-cycle cooling G. “Track 2” requires that if an operator of a power plant can prove that converting to closed cycle cooling is not feasible, then the plant must reduce its destruction of marine life to a level comparable with closed cycle cooling.
The California policy also provides an implementation schedule with specific deadlines -- starting in late 2010 and ending in 2024 -- for each of the 19 coastal power plants to be in compliance.