Morro Bay Modernization & Replacement Power Plant Project

Docket Number:

00-AFC-12 (Application For Certification)
00-AFC-12C (Compliance Proceeding)

Project Status: Licensed; In Compliance Phase, Project Withdrawn.

The California Energy Commission approved this project's Application for Certification on August 2, 2004. The Commission monitors the power plant's construction, operation and eventual decommissioning through a compliance proceeding.

Committee that oversaw Original Licensing Proceeding:

Michal C. Moore, Commissioner, Presiding Member

James D. Boyd, Commissioner, Associate Member


Hearing Officer: Gary Fay

Key Dates

Docket Number: 00-AFC-12
  • October 23, 2000 - Duke Energy files NEW Application For Certification. AFC assigned docket # 00-AFC-12.
  • November 22, 2000 - Executive Director files data adequacy recommendation.
  • November 15, 2001 - Part 1 of Final Staff Assessment issued.
  • December 19, 2001 - Part 2 of Final Staff Assessment issued.
  • April 25, 2002 - Part 3 of Final Staff Assessment issued.
  • September 20, 2002 - Staff files Supplemental Assessment on Habitat Enhancement.
  • April 30, 2003 - Presiding Members Proposed Decision released.
  • November 21, 2003 - Revised Presiding Members Proposed Decision released.
  • April 16, 2004 - 2nd Revised Presiding Members Proposed Decision released.
  • June 11, 2004 - 3rd Revised Presiding Members Proposed Decision released.
  • July 9, 2004 - Amendments to 3rd Revised Presiding Members Proposed Decision released.
  • August 2, 2004 - Project approved by Energy Commission
  • May 22, 2012 - Completion of Phase I, Termination request of Phases II and III.
Docket Number: 99-AFC-6
  • December 8, 1998 - Duke Energy Power Services announces that it will undertake repowering of a power plant in California.
  • August 31, 1999 - Duke Energy Power files Application For Certification (AFC).
  • November 17, 1999 - Commission business meeting on data adequacy.
  • December 27, 1999 -- Duke Energy withdraws its AFC.


Duke Energy Morro Bay LLC proposes to modernize the (MW) Morro Bay Power Plant. The "modernization" project is located at the existing 1,002-megawatt (MW) Morro Bay Power Plant site that is owned and operated by Duke Energy. The old plant would be replaced by a proposed 1,200 MW facility, for a net increase of 198 MW. This site is located within the City of Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County, near Morro Bay Harbor, bordered on the west by Embarcadero Road and on the east by Highway 1.

The applicant (Duke Energy) proposes construction of two new generating units which replace the currently operating generation Units 1 and 2 (342 MW, 1950's technology) and Units 3 and 4 (679 MW, 1960's technology) with two state-of-the-art 600 MW combined cycle units. Upon completion of the project, the Plant will be capable of producing a total of 1,200 MW. Each new unit will consist of two gas-fired turbines and one steam turbine driven by the heat produced by the other two turbines. Each new unit will have two, 145 foot tall stacks compared with the existing plant's three 450 foot tall stacks.

The new combined cycle units will continue to use the existing once-through seawater cooling system that includes an intake structure that draws water from Morro Bay and an ocean out fall which discharges into Estero Bay. Power from the combined cycle units will tie into the Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) Morro Bay Switchyard that is located immediately adjacent to the power plant. No offsite transmission lines or transmission line upgrades are required by the power plant. Natural gas will be delivered by the existing (PG&E) pipeline and distribution system.

Duke Energy plans to complete construction of two new generating units in a single construction phase lasting 21 months. Based on construction beginning mid-2003, full scale commercial operation will begin the first quarter of calendar year 2005, if the project is approved by the Commission.

Energy Commission Facility Certification Process

The California Energy Commission is the lead agency (for licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts and larger) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and has a certified regulatory program under CEQA. Under its certified program, the Energy Commission is exempt from having to prepare an environmental impact report. Its certified program, however, does require environmental analysis of the project, including an analysis of alternatives and mitigation measures to minimize any significant adverse effect the project may have on the environment.

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