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Morro Bay enters agreement with Trident Winds 

The city of Morro Bay has agreed to cooperate with a company that has lofty plans to build a large wind energy plant 15 miles off the coast of Morro Bay.

The agreement, called a memorandum of cooperation (MOC), is non-binding and largely symbolic, but is a sign of good faith between the two parties as Trident Winds LLC continues to pursue its plans for the project, said Morro Bay City Manager Dave Buckingham.

“In a way, it’s simply a public flag that says the city is intrigued by this, and is talking to Trident and to all involved parties as Trident pursues their private activities,” Buckingham told New Times.

The City Council voted 4-0 on Oct. 13 to approve the memorandum. The city will be one of several government agencies that may be asked to permit parts of the project in the future.

The project, which is in the early planning stages, would generate one gigawatt of electricity using approximately 100 wind turbines. The turbines, which Buckingham said would be anywhere from 15 to 50 miles off the coast, would be floating on top of the ocean, with large anchors dropped onto the ocean floor.

The project could possibly involve utilizing part of the now-inactive Morro Bay Power Plant (MBPP) to transfer the electricity it generates to transmission lines owned by Pacific Gas and Electric. The MBPP, which city documents say has been rendered inoperable since January 2013, has been a bit of an albatross for the city as officials consider several options for the demolition or conversion of the existing facility.

According to the agreement between Morro Bay and Trident Winds, the two parties will work cooperatively to consider reuse options of the existing plant, owned by Dynegy, and through the extensive permitting process, which will include requirements from several state and federal agencies. Buckingham estimated the process would take approximately five to six years.

-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay

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