A project that could ultimately lead to a 939 MW power plant in Huntington Beach--replacing an aging facility at the same location--received preliminary approval from the California Energy Commission this week. The commission gave its consent Aug. 9 to an application for certification of the proposed Huntington Beach Energy Project. It would be constructed on the site where the AES Huntington Beach Generating Station now sits. The new facility would entail two independently operating, three-on-one, combined-cycle gas turbine power blocks. It would be built upon the demolition of the AES Huntington Beach Generating Station, which now sits on the 28.6 acre site. Two units of the current five-unit AES facility were retired in late 2011. They were brought back into service in May to help compensate for the region\u2019s loss of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The units are providing about 440 MW to the greater Los Angeles area while providing voltage support to allow power to be imported into the San Diego area, according to the California Independent System Operator. The units are expected to run until October at the latest, and then be permanently taken out of service. The certification application was originally submitted in late June by project developer AES Southland Development. The company filed supplemental data Aug. 6. With the Energy Commission now having accepted the application as complete, the next step in the process is a full review of the project by a commission siting committee. That could take a year or more. It would then be followed by a public review period and consideration by the full commission. If approved, construction could start in 2015. The first generators could be online by late 2018, with full implementation by 2020, according to AES. Demolition of the existing plant\u2019s Unit 5, which is scheduled to occur between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the end of 2015, would provide the space for the construction of Block 1 of the new plant. In other news, the commission approved two substantial revisions to its Energy Efficiency and Block Grant Program guidelines. One of them gives entities that received funding under the 2009 federal stimulus program more time to finish their projects. The first revision extends the deadline for completing American Reinvestment and Recovery Act-funded projects under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program from Sept. 13, 2012, to Sept. 13, 2013. The second change was the removal of references in the guidelines to the California Energy Commission\u2019s ARRA Ad Hoc Committee, which formerly presided over proceedings governing the administration and distribution of ARRA funds. The committee has disbanded and the changes to guidelines give the Energy Commission\u2019s executive director authorization to carry out certain activities the committee previously performed.