The Morro Bay power plant has had a significant presence in the community of Morro Bay for over five decades. Generating and exporting energy for an entire region, the facility employs dozens of citizens and has supported the city with significant tax revenues. In recent years the plant has operated less due to the introduction of more modern, efficient power generation facilities in the region. This has created an opportunity for the plant and its partners to create a project for transformation while continuing to be a viable and important component to the local and regional fabric.

Situated at the foot of windy coastal foothills, on the shores of the Pacific, beneath plentiful California sun and atop some of the country’s richest geothermal potential, the 12 million cubic foot plant will become the shell for studying and developing advanced power systems to harness the potentials of wind, wave, tidal, solar and geothermal energies; incubating innovation in energy production with the potential to not only supply its own power demand, but to sell clean power to Morro Bay and the region beyond through the existing distribution network.

The project and the research it sponsors will heal the sensitive coastal environments to give new life to marine and upland ecosystems through investment in marine habitats, expansion and restoration of the Little Morro Creek riparian zone.

Utilizing the most advanced technologies available, the project will capitalize on the efficiencies of desalinization of brackish water. Coupled with research and innovation advanced here, the desalinization plant will be expanded into a vital source of water for the Morro Bay community as a whole. Natural waste water processes synched with the adjacent riparian area will recharge the aquifer and enhance animal and human habitats.

The new campus will knit together downtown Morro Bay with the neighborhoods to the north; reconnecting residents to beaches and open spaces by way of a completed Embarcadero and new parks and trail systems. An influx of intellectual capital and knowledge workers will enhance the vitality of the town, opening up new educational and cultural opportunities.

The reimagination of the Morro Bay power plant as an epicenter of “green energy” will trigger a sense of purpose throughout the region, but will be felt most acutely in the neighborhoods nearby. The new research campus will help transform our perception of the massive plant structure and iconic smoke stacks into agents of education and investigation.


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