After gathering in the parking lot outside the electric security gate, a group of interested residents began the highly anticipated tour of the legendary Encina Power Plant in Carlsbad.
The tour began with an hour long photo presentation by NRG safety manager Jonas Jackson on the history, the engineering of the steam cycle and the future of the power plant.
The tour continued out of the presentation and into the facility lounge where we were provided hardhats, gloves and ear plugs, as well as a close view of retired turbine blade.
We were soon led through a variety of wide open halls, staircases and elevators through-out the interior of the power plant periodically stopping at essential posts including control rooms, boilers and turbines.
An opened door high above the plant floor invited us to the exterior roof of the power plant. A rusted rail and pair of chairs separated us from the highway 101 below. A view we only imagined over the past decades greeted us with stormy surf, a cloud scattered sky and the creeping sun.
Jonas led us back into the plant and out the east facing door where we found the base of the nearly 400ft. plant chimney. Emergency communication satellites hung near the bottom as the chimney top receded into the sky.
The future of the Power Plant is limited, but details on the exact date of decommissioning is uncertain due to the complicated logistics of a water intake to the new power plant, which will have to be built if the “old” power plant is removed.
Whether Encina’s future is days or years, we all felt extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to explore the grounds of our local landmark.
Thanks Jonas, Patty and Ryan for all the interesting facts and the highly anticipated tour—and a special thanks to Linda for organizing this opportunity.
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all photos by Bryan Snyder