NewsLocal News


World's largest energy storage system proposed in Morro Bay

Posted at 5:40 PM, Feb 18, 2021

The world's largest energy storage system could soon go up in Morro Bay.

It would go in the location of the vacant Morro Bay Power Plant.

Texas-based company, Vistra Energy is proposing to build a 600 mega watt lithium-ion battery installation at the location of the old tank farm.

"Providing clean emission free, affordable electricity to consumers," said Brad Watson, Director of Vistra Community Affairs.

The project would occupy 22 acres of a 100+ acre site.

There would be three new buildings, 30 feet tall, and covering 273,000 square feet.

"To get a sense of the size of this project, it would hold enough energy to power approximately 450,000 homes," said Eric Cherniss, Senior Director of Vistra Corporate Development and Strategy.

The company says much of the existing infrastructure would be utilized and it could tie into the existing PG&E substation without the need for any new transmission lines.

The battery facility is designed to help California and the Central Coast with renewable energy.

"The batteries help by storing renewable energy from the grid when it's plentiful like during the middle of the day when the sun is shining the batteries will then store that excess energy until it is needed," Cherniss said.

Vistra says about 100 local construction workers will be on site for the entire project with 300 workers at its peak. 15 permanent employees would operate the site.

City Manager, Scott Collins says when it comes to revenueZ, it's a moving target as it's based on the selling price of the kilowatt per hour.

"Ultimately, that determines what the value of the property is, so at this point, the best estimate is about a $450,000,000 project and when you do all the math it comes to about $450,000 a year to the city in new tax revenue," Collins explained.

If approved, the goal is to get construction going by the next year.

"The plan would have the new battery facility online by the end of 2024 to coincide with the retirement of the Diablo Canyon nuclear generation station," Cherniss said.

The company recently constructed a 300 mega watt battery project in Moss Landing which is about half the size of this proposed project.

The city says it'll take about a month to go over the planning process. The proposed project will then go to the planning commission.

There will be community forums during the process then it'll go to city council and the Coastal Commission.

Dates have not yet been nailed down but it's expected to be on the planning commission's agenda in the next couple of months.