Panel Backs Duke Energy on Plant Cooling

From Staff and Wire Reports

Despite the opposition of several state and federal agencies, a subcommittee of the California Energy Commission has sided with Duke Energy in its efforts to modernize the Morro Bay Power Plant.

Two presiding members of the commission made a preliminary recommendation this week that Duke continue to use saltwater cooling after its $800-million remodeling, even though environmental groups and regulators have pushed for air cooling. The two members also have ruled that habitat enhancement can offset the damage to sea life in the Morro Bay Estuary on the north coast of San Luis Obispo County.

A final decision by the whole commission is expected in the fall, and a public hearing will be held in Morro Bay on June 30.