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Morro Bay officials oppose Dynegy wave parks

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Morro Bay city councilmembers voiced unanimous opposition to two proposed wave-power-generation facilities off the coast.

“It looks to me, in the proposal … that they just ignored everything the fishermen said,” Councilwoman Nancy Johnson said of Dynegy’s permit application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for wave parks in Estero Bay and off Point Estero.

Dynegy is the operator of the recently closed Morro Bay Power Plant.

On Sept. 9, the City Council collectively penned a letter to FERC opposing the projects for a variety of reasons: “As currently proposed, the city believes both Dynegy wave park locations present significant cause for concern in three key areas: access to fisheries, safe navigation, and impact on marine mammals and other marine species.”

The letter further stated that Dynegy didn’t hold “any public information forums detailing the project, which inhibits stakeholder awareness and participation in the process.”

Dynegy applied for two preliminary permits on Feb. 7 for the 5.2-square-nautical-mile Dynegy Point Estero Wave Park, and the 2.73-square-nautical-mile Dynegy Estero Bay Wave Park. Both projects would harness wave energy via vessels that would be built in three phases.

The Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization already voiced its opposition in a letter to the FERC; the organization’s president, Tom Hafer, wrote that fishermen weren’t opposed to the smaller of the two projects, “but we can not afford to loose [sic] any more fishing areas with the other proposed … project at Estero Point.”

Dynegy Director of Public Relations and Internal Communications Katy Sullivan said in an email, “The purpose of the preliminary permits, if granted, is literally to test the waters at the respective sites. We will be looking at things like wave quality and stakeholder preferences during the preliminary permit phase to develop a project proposal for a commercial scale facility, which will require another round of permitting and will be another opportunity for the public to weigh in on the project.”

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