City of Morro Bay, CA

04/24/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/24/2024 15:31

The Comment Period for the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Draft EIR is Open!

Vistra, the owner of the Morro Bay Power Plant property, has submitted an application to the City of Morro Bay to install a 600-MW BESS on the power plant site. The BESS site is 24 acres, while the project area includes a total of 43 acres. In addition to the installation of a BESS, the project includes demolition of the power plant building and stacks. Also, as required by the City's General Plan, the project includes a Master Plan for the redevelopment of the site. The Master Plan would change the land use designation and zoning of the 24-acre BESS site from Visitor Serving Commercial to a combination of Industrial-General and Industrial-Light. The Master Plan will cover all 107 acres of Vistra-owned land, divided into five areas for planning purposes:

  1. The BESS Site (former tank farm)
  2. The Power Plant Area
  3. Lila Keiser Park and Morro Creek Area
  4. Scott Street Hill Area
  5. Embarcadero Area

Now that the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project has been published, the public comment period has been opened and will remain open through Tuesday, May 28th. Comments can be submitted by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. In addition, the City's Planning Commission will be accepting comments during their regular meeting on May 7th (6:00 PM at the Vet's Hall). Members of the public will be able to make public comment at the podium in-lieu of writing to the City.

The purpose of this Planning Commission meeting is simply to receive comments, no decisions of any kind will be made on May 7th. All comments made during the public comment period will be reflected and responded to, as appropriate, in the Final EIR. Remember, this is an opportunity to comment on the information and analysis provided in the Draft EIR. General comments for or against the project are discouraged at this time as no decisions will be made before a Final EIR is published.

Interested in what the future holds for the power plant property? Members of the public can also participate in a workshop in support of the Power Plan Master Plan. The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8th, at the Vet's Hall at 6:00 PM. The workshop will include information about each of the five areas of the property, outlined above, and will seek further input from the public on appropriate future uses. This will be the second workshop held by the City, in addition to a survey that received over 600 responses. The results of the survey can be found on the City's website.

BESS Project Timeline: Members of the public are interested in the City's timeline for processing the BESS application. Once a Final EIR is published, and the Master Plan is completed, the project can be scheduled for review by the Planning Commission. The first possible date for a Planning Commission hearing has been identified as August 6th, 2024. However, a public hearing can only be scheduled for this date if the Final EIR has been published and work on the Master Plan completed.

The City looks forward to receiving your comments on the Draft EIR and your participation in the Master Plan workshop. Thank you!