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Power plant tanks in Morro Bay set to be dismantled

dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Removal of six large fuel oil tanks at the Morro Bay power plant is scheduled to begin May 16.

The plant owner, Dynegy of Houston, said the demolition project is expected to take a month to a month and a half to complete. The tanks will be cut up, and the resulting scrap metal recycled.

The tanks are 32 feet tall, and their removal should mean an aesthetic improvement to Morro Bay, said Steve Goschke, plant manager. The plant is on Embarcadero Road next to Coleman Park.

“Dynegy is committed to dismantling the tanks in a manner that minimizes the impact on residents and the environment,” he said.

The tanks were installed in the late 1970s to store fuel oil for the plant. The plant’s three 450-foot-tall stacks were used to disperse the emissions from burning oil.

However, increasingly stringent air quality standards required the plant to be reconfigured in 1995 to burn only natural gas. In 2003, piping to the tanks was removed, and they were industrially cleaned to remove residual oil.

Silverado Contractors will perform the demolition. The project is overseen by the state Energy Commission, which ensures compliance with environmental standards involving such factors as noise, traffic and biological and cultural impacts.

When operating, the plant can produce 1,002 megawatts of power. However, the antiquated plant operates only intermittently during periods of peak power demand.

The previous owner, Duke Energy, had proposed rebuilding and modernizing the plant. State regulators have since required that the plant’s once-through cooling system be phased out.

Dynegy is not proposing the plant be rebuilt, said David Byford, Dynegy spokesman. Anyone with questions or concerns about the demolition project can call 595-4204.

Reach David Sneed at 781-7930.

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