Trident pursues up to 1,000-MW wind project offshore of Morro Bay, California

The city of Morro Bay, California, is reviewing plans from Trident Winds LLC for an up-to-1,000-MW wind project, to be composed of floating wind turbines located about 15 miles off the city in the Pacific Ocean.

The project would interconnect on land to the grid at the shut Morro Bay Power Plant (MBPP), which was a 650-MW, gas-fired facility closed in January 2013 by Dynegy (NYSE: DYN). The city owns and controls a cooling water outfall structure previously utilized by the Morro Bay Power Plant, which could be utilized to connect other energy projects to the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) electric substation located adjacent to the power plant.

Earlier in 2015, Trident Winds approached the city regarding the offshore wind project, seeking cooperation on potential re-use of the outfall. This project would involve the placement of wind turbines at least 15 miles offshore. “At this time, nothing has been permitted and the project is still in initial planning and outreach phases,” said a part of the city website that has been set up to follow the approval process for the project. “A Memorandum of Cooperation was approved by the City Council on October 13, 2015, outlining the potential use of the outfall and requests from the City for Trident Winds to engage in significant public outreach on the project. This project will likely be years in the making.”

A memo from city staff related to the Oct. 13 memorandum said that Dynegy representatives have advised that the company is “actively attempting to sell and otherwise dispose of its portfolio of California power plants, including the MBPP. The MBPP has been closed and rendered inoperable since January 2013. The City has experienced significant negative economic impacts as a result of expired MBPP operational agreements, including, but not limited to, because a vacant power plant on the City’s waterfront is a visual and economic detriment to the future growth and prosperity of the City. Since the closure of the MBPP, various parties have suggested site re-use concepts to the City.”

An October 2015 presentation from the company said that its main people are:

  • Alla Weinstein – the founder, CEO and President of Principle Power Inc., a market entry company that developed and is supplying floating support structures to the offshore industry.
  • Eric Markell – the former CFO and Chief Resources Officer of Puget Sound Energy.
  • Brian Walshe – former Managing Director in the Navigant Consulting financial transaction practice.

The presentation said that floating offshore wind is a proven and a maturing technology. A number of technology options will be available for offshore wind projects in deep water in the post-2025 timeframe, which is when the Trident Winds project is due for operation. WindFloat is the current leading technology, with an existing demonstration plant and additional capacity under construction. With this technology, the turbines would float on a boat-like structure that is anchored to the ocean floor via chain.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.