California power plant regulators decided Wednesday to begin the certification process for building a new natural gas-fired baseload generation plant along the coast in Long Beach to replace an older gas-fired plant that faces retirement because of new statewide restrictions on using ocean water for cooling coastal power plants. The California Energy Commission unanimously agreed to begin the formal siting proceedings for AES Southland Development LLC's proposed 1,936 MW Alamitos Energy Center, concluding the power plant operator's application was "data adequate." If certified, the new plant would replace the existing 2,000 MW AES Alamitos facility that uses once-through cooling, which has been deemed to harm marine life.