San Luis Obispo County

Morro Bay Power Plant Officially Closed

MORRO BAY, Calif - After more than half a century of being in business the Morro Bay power plant has officially closed.

At one point the power plant served up to 1 million customers but over the past few years those numbers have dwindled to just over 300 thousand. "It was operating at less than 5 percent of its production capability over the last several years," said Katy Sullivan, Dynegy's spokesperson.

The owner of the plant, Dynegy, decided it was no longer economically viable.

Over the years the city has reaped the benefit of two large funds that have been paid to it from the plant. An outfall lease payment of $260 thousand and a community development fund of $525 thousand a year.

"We are anticipating that they may cut off the community development fund, they have the right to do that under their contract with the city, but the city has not been including that amount in its budget for many years and has known this day might be coming for some time," said interim city attorney, Anne Russell.

Some employees are still at the plant and the city said there will be roundabout security everyday.

The plant could have a brighter future as the company has been discussing possible new uses, like a wave park. "It's an energy instillation in the ocean, it would use ocean power, the power of the waves, to generate electricity, and we are at the very preliminary stages of that right now," said Sullivan.

Recently Cal Poly's Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy received a $750 thousand grant to assess the feasibility of testing wave energy off the coast. Dynegy says it would be interested in working with them in the future.

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